Catholic Bishops in Kenya Say “courts should prepare” to Handle Election Disputes

Members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB). Credit: KCCB

Members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) have urged officials of Kenyan judiciary to “prepare themselves” to handle poll-related disputes ahead of the August 9 general elections.

In their weekly Sunday message issued July 3, the Catholic Bishops say election preparedness goes beyond security agencies and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

“The courts should prepare themselves to discharge their mandate in a manner that brings honor to the disputing parties, to the country but especially in a way that the ordinary voters will see their voting exercise respected,” KCCB members say in their message read out by Bishop Joseph Obanyi Sagwe of the Catholic Diocese of Kakamega. 

Catholic Bishops in Kenya further say, “A fair and transparent ruling builds the confidence of Kenyans in their own institutions.”

To achieve such fairness and transparency, KCCB members ask Kenyan judiciary officials “to set a time limit upon which all electoral cases should be resolved to avoid delayed justice for candidates and their supporters, maybe a 100 days to conclude petitions.”


The judiciary, they say, “will be our first and last defender in the line of seeking justice.”

“Election results are emotive,” Catholic Bishops in Kenya say, adding that it is for this reason that the judiciary “should uphold Solomonic wisdom, interest of the lowly, fair interpretation of the law and the spirit behind every article of the law to ensure this year’s general election strengthens our resilience towards a just society.”

During the scheduled August 9 polls, eligible voters in Kenya are expected to vote for a President, Governors, Women Representatives, Senators, Members of Parliament, and Members of County Assembly. 

While Presidential candidates who feel aggrieved by the poll results will be expected to file their respective election petitions with the Kenya’s Supreme Court, candidates vying for other political seats in the country will be filing their petitions with the High Court of Kenya.

In their July 3 statement, Catholic Bishops in Kenya also call on religious leaders and the media to monitor the “ongoing electioneering campaigns and elections, to ensure justice prevails at all times.”

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“Their monitoring tasks involves among others reporting on voter bribery, flagging politicians who incite people against each other, highlighting malpractices, and promoting a spirit of democracy,” they say.

The media “must be sharp in calling out individuals violating the electoral law,” KCCB members say, and caution the media in Kenya against favoritism.

They also urge their fellow faith-based leaders “to remain impartial for the sake of their followers, who have divergent views,” explaining that in assuming impartiality, “We become better placed to maintain peace among our followers.”   

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.