By Harold Ayodo
KENYA: Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has cancelled leave of judges and magistrates between March and October.
Court of Appeal Judge Justice David Maraga told lawyers in Kisumu that the CJ issued the directive to ensure faster determination of election disputes.
Justice Maraga said that the CJ issued a memo to the Judicial Officers countrywide in the wake of new rules on election petitions.
“Presidential Petitions must be heard within 14 days and other petitions within six months…the Judiciary has to work,” Maraga said.
He was speaking during the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) Continuing Legal Education seminar at a Kisumu hotel.
Justice Maraga who is also the Judiciary Working Committee on Election Preparedness (JWCEP) Vice Chairman said Presidential Petitions will now be served via Email.
“The Judiciary has embraced service via Electronic Mail to ensure that petitioners receive service documents fast,” Justice Maraga said.
He said that the complainants would now also serve respondents by advertisements on newspapers with national circulation.
“We tried to avoid the case that involved Former President Moi and Kibaki whereby Kibaki could not find and serve Moi in 1997 in dispute of election results,” Justice Maraga said.
The Appellate Judge said that the Judiciary would open an email address where petitions emailed to Presidential aspirants be copied.
“The Judiciary requested the IEBC to ask Presidential aspirants give in their email addresses and those of their lawyers.
“Petitions should be filed electronically within two hours after filing the same at the registry,” Justice Maraga said.
He said that sued Presidential aspirants should respond to services within three days and file affidavits of witnesses they are planning to call.
Justice Maraga said that there would be pre-trial conferences ahead of Presidential Election Petitions to identify evidence that would be heard at the hearing.
“Judges will not entertain unnecessary injunctions as the Courts would sit on a daily basis,” Justice Maraga said.
Justice Maraga was presenting a paper titled Proposed Election Rules.