The Africa Judges and Jurists Forum (AJJF) has commissioned a High-Level Panel of African Jurists to observe the 2022 Presidential Election Petition in Kenya.
Trial Observation Mission is headed by the Retired Chief Justice of the Republic of Tanzania, Justice Mohammed Chande Othman.
Justice Moses Chinhengo, a Zimbabwean national who serves on the ad hoc Court of Appeal of Lesotho is also a member of the Mission.
Commenting on the choice of Justice Chinhengo, AJJF Secretary General, Martin Okumu Masiga stated that “the involvement of Justice Moses Chinhengo is a boon for the mission. He has a wealth of judicial experience spanning a number of countries in the region including Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Namibia. His previous experience monitoring the 2013 and 2017, presidential election petitions in Kenya would bring added value to the mission.”
It will also be remembered that Justice Moses Chinhengo also helped draft the 2010 Constitution of Zimbabwe. Other delegation members include Justice Ivy Kamanga from the Supreme Court of Appeal of Malawi, Justice Lillian Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza of the Supreme Court of Uganda and Justice Boissie Henry Mbha, the immediate past President/Chairperson of the Electoral Court of South Africa.
The eminent jurists will attend all Supreme Court hearings, monitor and document the presidential election petition based on International human rights standards of fair trial standards, analyse the role and independence of the Judiciary in examining the electoral disputes and review the socio-political climate in the run-up to the Petition.
At the end of the trial observation, the observers will develop a comprehensive report aiming at contributing to a more professional, independent, impartial, and accountable Judiciary, a more independent legal profession, and better adherence to the rule of law and international legal standards concerning the resolution of electoral disputes.
The Observation Mission will include bilateral meetings before the hearings with the Parties to the Petition, including the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP) and the Attorney General.
The meetings aim to introduce the eminent jurists to the stakeholders of the Petition and make them aware of the process and its modalities.
The Eminent African jurists will also meet with the Law Society of Kenya, the Council of the Kenyan Chapter of the International Commission of Jurists and the retired Chief Justices of Kenya.
Introducing the Africa Judges and Jurists Forum (AJJF), Masiga, the Secretary General, stated that, the Forum is a pan African network of judges and jurists who are committed to promoting the rule of law and development in Africa.
It accomplishes this goal by providing legal expertise to governments, inter-governmental organisations, donor agencies, private sector and civil society organizations.
The forum works to enhance rule of law, good governance and economic growth through standards setting, judicial and legal reform support and rule of law related to capacity development initiatives for the effective realization of the benefits of democratization to Africa peoples.
The AJJF is registered under South African law and it draws its membership from all the geographic regions recognized by the African Union