BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,4TH APRIL,2022-The Judiciary has announced plans of operationalising special courts in hot spot areas in bid to expedite hate speech cases as the country gears up for the 2022 General Election.
Speaking during the ODPP Staff Election Preparedness Sensitization Workshop Monday, Chief Justice Martha Koome revealed the plans that will enable expeditious disposal of election offences matters that come to court.
Part of the plans also include a training programme for the Special Magistrates and I am certain the Judiciary Committee on Elections will invite representation and input from the ODPP for the capacity building training.
In February, CJ Koome gazetted 120 Magistrates to serve as Special Magistrates to hear and determine matters relating to offences under the Election Offences Act.
In addition, the Chief Justice issued a directive to Magistrates handling hate speech matters under the National Cohesion and Integration Act to finalise all pending hate speech matters within four months from February.
“The Judiciary is also enhancing its elections preparedness. We have put in place the Judiciary Committee on Elections (JCE) that has developed and is implementing a comprehensive election preparedness work plan to ensure that the institution is positioned to discharge its mandate optimally,” she said.
“We have already embarked training of judges and judicial officers on electoral offences and connected matters,” she added.
The CJ lauded the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution for mounting the election preparedness sensitization programme saying it will ensure efficiency in the prosecution of election related offences and thus contribute to the protection of our democracy and the rule of law.
“I see collaboration between the Judiciary and the ODPP in election preparedness as an effort that will enhance the effectiveness of our institutions in the discharge of our common overarching mandate of ensuring that we have an efficient and effective electoral justice system,” CJ Koome remarked.