Thursday, 28 February 2013

Judiciary ready for election disputes, says CJ Willy Mutunga


Posted  Thursday, February 28  2013 at  11:35
Chief Justice Willy Mutunga (right) confers with Chief Registrar Gladys Shollei during the launch of a report by the Judiciary Working Committee on Election Preparations at the Milimani Law Courts, Nairobi February 28, 2013. Dr Mutunga said the Judiciary was ready to handle any election-related disputes. EMMA NZIOKA

The Kenyan Judiciary has said it is ready to handle any electoral disputes that may arise from the General Election.The elections, scheduled for Monday, will be a test for Kenya. The country’s last elections in 2007 was marred by violence after a disputed presidential vote.The Orange Democratic Movement whose candidate Raila Odinga was competing against the Party of National Unity’s Mwai Kibaki, rejected the results alleging fraud. The party also refused to go to court claiming the courts were biased.Some 1,133 people were killed and 650,000 displaced during the 2007/08 post election violence.Chief Justice Willy Mutunga said Tuesday the Judiciary is now reformed and prepared for any electoral dispute.“Never again shall we be seen as the bottleneck to electoral justice that nudges the country towards violence,” he said.“To the new Judiciary, no case is too difficult or delicate to determine. No number of cases is too high to dispose of efficiently and competently.”

Dr Mutunga spoke in Nairobi where he received a report by the Judiciary Working Committee on Election Preparations, where he outlined measures that the Judiciary has taken to ensure that it will handle electoral disputes efficiently, impartially and within the constitutional set deadlines.The working committee, which was appointed in May 2012 to oversee preparations for electoral disputes, has trained all judges and magistrates on how to speedily resolve election disputes, the Chief Justice announced.“I want to give an undertaking to the country that we shall meet the constitutional deadlines of resolving all presidential election disputes within 14 days and all other election petitions within six months, if and when they arise,” he said.The Judiciary has also published both the Supreme Court Rules on Presidential Petitions and the High Court Petition Rules for other electoral offices.

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