Kenya referendum case aborts

June 28, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 28 – The Government has been given 10 days to respond to a case that seeks to stop the August 4 referendum on grounds that the constitutional review process has been marred by irregularities.

The case filed by Kenyans for Justice and Development (KEJUDE) wants the Interim Independent Constitutional Dispute Resolution Court (IICDRC) to give guidance on how the entire review process should be conducted including civic education.

The hearing which was initially set for Monday morning failed to kick off after the respondents asked for time to prepare their case forcing Lady Justice Violet Mavisi to re-schedule it for July 7.

Okiya Omtatah who is the KEJUDE Director welcomed the adjournment saying all that mattered was the court’s hearing and final decision on the petition.

“Let the court then rule; history will decide for itself. Because the court’s decision will be on record and the future generations will see. We must first obey the law before thinking of a new law and that way the country will take off,” he said.

Earlier, the advocates representing the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC), the Attorney General and the Committee of Experts (CoE) and those representing the petitioners failed to agree on an appropriate date for the hearing compelling the Judge’s intervention.

Wanjiku Mbiyu on behalf of the AG and Emmanuel Wetang’ula representing the IIEC had asked for a 10 and 14 day break respectively to adequately respond to the issues.

“We were served last week on Friday and we did not have enough time to prepare ourselves and the issues raised by the petitioners need enough preparation and time,” argued Mr Wetang’ula.

But in a quick rejoinder Andrew Muma and Charles Kanjama who were representing the petitioners said the respondents had enough time within which to organise themselves. They wanted the hearing date set for June 30.

“The respondents have had three days to get ready and we oppose their application. We think the date for the hearing should be set three days from today (Monday),” said Mr Muma.

Mr Omtatah also defended himself from accusations of being a busy body terming them ‘diversionary tactics’.

“I have a clean track record that didn’t happen yesterday and if anyone thinks I can be used for anything else let them point it out. Anybody who says I’ve been ‘bought’ the challenge of proof is his,” he countered.

Other petitioners in the case include Maximilia Munizwa, Ouma Odera, Frederick Odhiambo, Sarah Nyokabi and Prof Barrack Otieno.

Only two civil societies (Center for Multiparty Democracy and Bunge la Wananchi) have applied to be respondent to the petition before the court.

Mr Omtatah wants the Interim Independent Constitutional Dispute Resolution Court to determine 75 issues. Key among them is the failure by the IIEC to give Kenyans a multi question referendum. He also wants the court to address the issue of civic education alleging that the CoE is biased in its educative efforts.

The CoE was not represented.


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