5,000 lawyers trained on election petitions rules
Over 5,000 lawyers have undertaken training to handle petitions that may arise after general elections next month.
Law Society of Kenya (LSK) Chairman Eric Mutua said the lawyers were taken through training on election petitions under the new electoral laws.
“We have worked with the Judiciary to ensure that post-electoral disputes are heard and determined as fast as possible,” Mutua said.
He said that the Lawyers and Judiciary had completed trainings on The Supreme Court (Presidential Election Petition) Rules 2013 and Election Petition Rules.
“The new rules require that Presidential Election Petitions are heard and determined within 14 days after being filed at the Supreme Court,” Mr Mutua said.
Mutua welcomed the latest amendment of the Elections Act to now enable courts declare election losers as winners unlike before when they could only order for by-elections.
“Lawyers can now make applications to court to declare an aspirant winner after successful election petitions,” Mr Mutua said.
The LSK Chairman said that the new rules gave lawyers powers to file election petitions on behalf political aspirants and serve respondents via email or media advertisement.
“The law has now changed and it is no longer compulsory to serve an opponent with suit papers in papers…email or newspapers with national circulation will do,” Mr Mutua said.
The Chairman said that other disputes that may arise on Gubernatorial, Senatorial or Parliamentary seats must be heard within six months in line with the Constitution.
“New rules on election petitions stipulate that lawyers would be restricted on applying for injunctions that would drag the cases,” Mutua said.
The Judiciary estrimates that about 500 election petitions will arise out of 1,860 seats to be contested in the March 4 elections.
Mr Mutua said that slightly over 5,000 of the 10,000 registered Advocates underwent training on the new laws in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.
Advocates in Nakuru would be trained on Friday.
“The CLE trainings entail presentations by Court of Appeal and High Court Judges who are members of the Judiciary Working Committee on Election Preparation (JWCEP),” Mr Mutua said.
JWCEP Vice Chairman and Court of Appeal Judge David Maraga and High Court Judges Luka Kimaru and George Odunga are among the presenters.