, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 13 – As political party primaries kicked off on Thursday, the Judiciary and the Political Party Disputes Tribunal (PPDT) have set a raft of mechanisms to deal with disputes that may arise.
Chief Justice David Maraga however regretted that PPDT will not be able to sit in various court stations as envisaged because Parliament is yet to approve amendments to the Political Parties Act.
“The Judiciary proposed to Parliament an amendment to the Political Parties Act 2011, to empower the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to appoint at least 15 ad hoc members of the PPDT to sit in various part of the country. The move was aimed at enhancing capacity, access and efficiency in the resolution of electoral disputes across the counties. However, the proposed amendments have not yet been passed,” he said.
Consequently, Maraga said all the cases will be heard at the Nairobi Milimani Courts by two separate benches of three members each. The remaining member of the seven member bench will be assigned to performing research and other duties
The Chief Justice has further appointed six High Court judges to expeditiously handle appeals relating to nominations by political parties.
“The Judiciary’s preparedness to handle election disputes has been ongoing. All tiers of courts have been trained to enhance the capacity of judicial officers in handling of electoral disputes. I have gazetted 92 Special Magistrates to deal with electoral offences,” Maraga who is also the President of the Supreme Court of Kenya said.
PPDT Chairperson Kyalo Mbobu urged aggrieved aspirants to first exhaust their internal parties’ dispute resolution structures before coming to seek audience with them.
“Even as parties consider recourse to PPDT dispute resolution mechanism, it is important to remind parties that it is a requirement of the Political Parties Act 2011 that each political party should have an internal structure for dispute resolution. As such, political parties will be the first point of call in the resolution of any disputes arising from party primaries,” he explained
He added that the PPDT sub-registry and a customer care desk are located at the Milimani Law Courts, Nairobi with the option of establishing sub-registries.
Mbobu said the tribunal is engaging the Inspector General of Police to provide requisite security during the party primaries which end on April 26.
“We appeal to all parties, candidates and public to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner during period.”