By SAM KIPLAGAT
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The Judiciary is expecting more than 200 election petitions as politicians who lost in the just-concluded elections seek redress in courts.

The Law Society of Kenya and a host of election observation missions have urged losers, who will not be satisfied with the outcome, to seek legal redress.

Chief Justice David Maraga has said judges and magistrates are ready to hear petitions.

In a report, the head of the European Union Election Observation Mission, Ms Marietje Schaake, said any irregularities or challenges should be addressed through petitions and courts.

“Kenyans can be proud of their participation in the democratic process and should continue following the rule of law throughout the results process,”  said Ms Schaake.

These sentiments were echoed by Mr John Mahama, the chairman of the Commonwealth Observer Group.

Mr Mahama, the former Ghanaian President, said any grievances should be addressed “through the prescribed legal channels”.

So far, seven governor candidates have said they will head to court to challenge the outcome of the polls.

Those who have disputed the results include outgoing Meru Governor Peter Munya, who lost to Mr Kiraitu Murungi of Jubilee; Kajiado’s David Nkedianye, who lost to former Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku; Dr Evans Kidero of Nairobi, who lost to Senator Mike Sonko; and Mr Chirau Ali Mwakwere, who failed to unseat Governor Salim Mvurya in Kwale.

Mr John Munyes, who was vying for the Turkana governor seat on a Jubilee ticket, has also said he will be heading to court, arguing that at some polling stations, ballot papers were delivered late, disenfranchising voters.

In Makueni, Mr David Masika, who failed to unseat Governor Kivutha Kibwana, has also indicated he will move to court to challenge the results. Mr Masika got a paltry 24,564 votes compared to Prof Kibwana’s 288,648.

Mr Munya said the poll outcome was computer-generated to favour Mr Murungi. “

We are going to join forces with other Kenyans in restoring democracy,” he said.

He was accompanied by his running mate Peter Kaberia and PNU Senate candidate Mugambi Imanyara.

Dr Kidero said: “The purported results relating to the Nairobi governorship elections are being released outside the constitutional and statutory framework of the Elections Act 2011.”

“These results are being released by unauthorised persons in breach of the mandatory provisions of the Elections Act. As the chief agent, I have not participated or been consulted on the process,” said Dr Kidero’s chief agent, Mr Cavince Owidi.

Dr Kidero of ODM described the outcome of the race for the Nairobi County top seat as “a sham and does not reflect the will of the people”.

Candidates for the National Assembly seats have also indicated that they will head to court.

They include Ms Jane Wangui of ODM, who lost to the current Embakasi North MP James Gakuya; and Mr Oscar Omoke of ODM, who has said he will challenge Jubilee candidate Nixon Korir’s win in Lang’ata. Former minister Linah Jebii Kilimo, who failed to recapture the Marakwet East parliamentary seat, has also said she will be moving to court to challenge the outcome.

According to Kilimo, her voters were intimidated and there was massive bribery during the campaigns.

A woman was shot dead and five others injured as tallying was going on at the Chesoi Constituency Development Fund office in Marakwet. Kilimo lost to Kangogo Bowen of Jubilee by 913 votes.

In Kisii County, Patrick Osero of Jubilee said he will be filing a petition, claiming irregularities in Kiabonyoru Ward.

The contestant lost the Borabu parliamentary seat to Ben Momanyi. Former MPs Joel Onyancha (Bomachoge Chache) and Zebedeo Opore (Bonchari) have also said they will challenge the outcome.

In 2013, the Judiciary heard and determined 188 election petitions, although some ended up in the Supreme Court and were concluded early this year.

CJ Maraga said: “Once again, I want to assure the country that the Judiciary is ready and able to resolve all electoral disputes that may arise from the General Election.

“I will, if necessary, allow our judicial officers to work outside the official hours — into the night and through weekends — to ensure that we keep to the Constitutional timelines without compromising on the quality of rulings,” he said.

He recently said judges and magistrates now have an election dispute resolution handbook, which provides information on legal, procedural and administrative issues on election disputes.

Mr Maraga said dissatisfied parties at any level should file their petitions in court and let judges deal with the issues. He said judges and magistrates had undergone intensive refresher training, to enable them to handle electoral disputes effectively.

Mr Maraga said the training was necessitated by the changes made in the election laws since 2013, and the gaps noted when petitions relating to the 2013 polls were being handled.

“Virtually all judicial officers of the rank of senior resident magistrate and above — including High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court judges — have been trained,” he said. The CJ added that although Parliament rejected a proposal to extend the hearing and determination of presidential election disputes from 14 to 30 days, they will have to work with the set timeliness.

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