, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 27 – The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an application to have the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) produce the marked voter registers used in all polling stations.
The ruling read by Justice Mohammed Ibrahim opined that the application filed by the Africa Centre for Open Governance (AFRICOG) was lodged late and it was not possible for IEBC to heed the request within such short notice.
“Assuming that the petitioners had brought and served a notice to produce within the reasonable time and made an application well before the hearing date, the application would have been considered favourably,” the six-judge bench ruled.
They further said AFRICOG’s lawyer, Kethi Kilonzo, made an oral application which made it also difficult for the court to compel the electoral body to produce the register.
According to the judges, the application was also not formally before the court as should have been the case.
“As things stand now, there is no application before the court for consideration. In any case, such an application would have failed as it would have been brought too late… that is on 25th of March which was the date for the pre-trial conference,” they ruled.
The court held that AFRICOG had no excuse for making the filing late since it could have been possible to file the application with the court on time. “The delay in filing the same is inexcusable and inordinate.”
The judges said the petition challenging the presidential results had timelines laid out in the Constitution hence petitioners and parties to the case should strictly adhere to such technicalities.
On Tuesday, Kilonzo faced tough opposition when she notified the court that she wanted IEBC to produce the marked voter registers used during the March 4 General Election.
She said IEBC supplied manual forms 34 and 36 but submitted the electronic voters’ register to the court, with claims that there were discrepancies of over 70,000 voters in the electronic register and those registered in the marked registers.
In her submission, she said it was only the principal register that could verify the actual number of registered voters and said the marked registers should even be in the custody of IEBC but in the hands of the court.
Her application was supported by lawyers representing the main petitioner – Prime Minister Raila Odinga – amid intense arguments by lawyers acting for President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto and IEBC.