Judiciary proposes extension of presidential petition period

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has already received a report recommending extension of the time it takes to hear petition on presidential polls. (Photo:File/Standard)
Judiciary has proposed an amendment of the Constitution to have the timeline for a presidential election petition extended from the current 14 to at least 30 days.

High court judge Justice Luka Kimaru Tuesday revealed that an internal report prepared by the Judiciary working group recommended the extension of the time. The document dubbed Performance Management Report, which was prepared by a committee headed by Justice Daniel Musinga was presented to Chief Justice Willy Mutunga on April 15.

He however said that the onus was now with parliament and the political class to mobilise voters to amend the constitution to enable the change.

"The time for determination of the presidential election petition is too short. In fact the recommendation which is now contained in a report presented to the Chief Justice is that it should be heard within 30 days," Justice Kimaru said.

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"But that's is up to the same people we refer to as politicians to mobilise us to amend the Constitution so that that time can be extended from 14 to 30 days. So 14 days is just too short, so the proposal is that lets make it 30 days and that's the way forward," he added.

He was speaking Tuesday at a Nairobi hotel during the launch of a report on election management in Kenya titled; From Pillar to Post: Transforming the Election Agenda in Kenya. The report was prepared by Institute of Education and Democracy (IED), International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) Kenya and Kenya Human Rights Commission.

Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission vice Chair Lilian Mahiri-Zaja, CEO Ezra Chiloba and Registrar of Political parties Lucy Ndung'u attended the event.

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The report contained myriad of proposals to amend laws that govern the electoral system in the country.

Just like the Judiciary, the report recommends the extension of the presidential election petition to at least 28 days, saying the current 14 do not allow enough time to build a solid case for parties.

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IED executive director Brian Weke said that they are also pushing for the amendment of the Constitution, the elections act and the political parties act to have the determination of disputes from party primaries handled at the Judiciary and not within IEBC.

In the last General Elections, IEBC Political parties Disputes Tribunal handled over 200 cases within a period of seven days, an exercise the civil society says is overwhelming to the electoral body.

"In streamlining resolution of electoral disputes, we seek to amend article 88 (4) of the Constitution by deleting clause (e) to dissociate IEBC from hearing and determining electoral disputes," Weke said.

Advance voting

The team also wants the law to me amended to stage the elections, so that Kenyans cannot vote for six positions in a single day; and enable advance voting for special groups such as security officers and persons hired to preside over the elections.

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"The constitution should also be amended to restrict amendments to electoral laws, six months to an election," Weke said, explaining that this will help avoid scenarios like in the run up to the last elections when the laws were amended up to the last minute.

On the gender rule quota, the team proposes abolishing one constituency per county and instead create two women posts in each county to raise the number of women to at least 94.

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Constitutionpresidential petitionWilly MutungaIEBC