In Summary
  • The Supreme Court rules for presidential petitions were tried and tested in 2013.
  • Virtually every Kenyan is affected by some unresolved court case, whether it's a commercial dispute, employment, land, traffic, inheritance, bank loans and so on.
  • Disputes between borrowers and banks should not drag on for so many years that they incur legal, penalty and interest charges that eventually exceed many times the initial loan amount.

From my notes while reading Charles Hornsby’s Kenya: A History since Independence, “15 petitions followed the 1969 elections and they were heard by Euro and Asian judges (Njonjo's decision) - 3 were successful.”

“39 petitions followed the 1974 elections, and 9 MPs lost their seats, with 4 barred from contesting for 5 years.”

“The 1979 elections had no observers…31 petitions were heard by non-African judges and 9 MP's (including 3 ministers) lost their seats”

This year is expected to be no different and the Deputy Chief Justice was quoted as saying the courts were expecting as many as 300 petitions following the August 8 election.

The Supreme Court rules for presidential petitions were tried and tested in 2013, and while some lawyers believe the constitutionally set timeline of two weeks is not realistic to tackle a complex case like a presidential election, the courts will do it again.

The Judiciary even published a 200-page booklet titled Bench Book On Electoral Disputes Resolution that deals with every aspect of election disputes to guide judges and court officials in deciding the validity of elections.

The book has checklists, timetables and clauses on things election offenses, the technology used in Kenya elections, nullification of elections, standard of proof, fling of petitions, examinations of witnesses, recusal of judges, jurisdiction and constitutional matters.

ATTENTION AND EFFICIENCY

It cites judicial precedents, and even recent past decisions, such as Ferdinand Waititu vs. Evans Kidero, Wavinya Ndeti’s Wiper Party eligibility case of 2017, and even an Amama Mbabazi vs. Yoweri Museveni election case from the Uganda Supreme Court in 2016!

Besides that, a raft of election laws were passed this year with new court rules gazetted thereafter. A separate newspaper notice by the Judiciary last week had a full page with frequently asked questions regarding petitions. It also declared that the Judiciary has set out to resolve all election cases within six months.

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