NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 20 – President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta has asked the Supreme Court to throw out a petition filed by his challenger Raila Odinga, saying the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) conducted the March 4 General Election in a free and fair manner.
In his response to Odinga’s petition, Kenyatta maintains that the election was credible according to standards established by law.
Through lawyers Fred Ngatia and Kennedy Ogetto, the president-elect is urging the court to dismiss the petition filed by Odinga because it is “baseless and lacks merit.”
Kenyatta in a 17-point executive summary pointed out that electronic systems in the conduct of elections have failed elsewhere including Ghana in 2012 and in the United States in 2000, and Kenya was not an exception.
He said that IEBC had done everything possible to ensure that the voting method adopted was simple, accurate, verifiable, secure, accountable and transparent.
The response read: “The results announced were indeed accurate and verifiable in accordance with the standard established by law and were announced in a transparent and lawful manner as contemplated by Article 86 of the Constitution and the Election (General) Regulations, 2012.”
In the response filed at the Supreme Court on Tuesday evening, Kenyatta maintained that he won the election and that the allegations contained in the petition by Odinga could not be proven.
“The petition as correctly understood, is founded on a hypothesis incapable of proof; it is an expression of bitterness arising from the petitioner’s loss of the poll and raises no legal issues capable of a judicial inquiry,” he said.
Kenyatta said that IEBC was not constitutionally bound to use the Biometric Voter Identification (BVI) or an electronic system of transmitting election results.
“It is a fundamental misconception of the law for the petitioner (Odinga) to contend that either registration of voters, identification of voters or transmission of the votes cast was required by law to be done via an electronic system,” Kenyatta’s reply reads in part.
He adds that Odinga’s claims about the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) are hypocritical as he had last year called for a return to the manual system and declared that ‘Kenyans did not want the BVR system.’
“Following consultations between the president, the petitioner and the 1st respondent (IEBC), a decision was made to procure the BVR Kits from the Government of Canada in a government-government deal. The Cabinet meeting at which the decision was made was chaired by the president and the petitioner,” he says.
“It therefore follows that the petitioner had a critical role in the identification and eventual purchase of the BVR kits. The petitioner cannot therefore either find a cause of action arising from his participation in the purchase of the BVR kits and/or benefit from the ultimate partial failure of the electronic systems,” he contends.
The president-elect says that IEBC’s conduct of the General Election must be judged considering an array of factors including that it was the first time that Kenyans voted for six positions simultaneously.
Kenyatta contends that IEBC must also be judged in cognisance of the fact that, for the first time in Kenya’s history, portions of the electoral process were conducted through electronic means including voter registration.
The president-elect argues the significant delays in the enactment of electoral laws by Parliament compounded by several late stage amendments disrupted IEBC’s schedule of executing the efficient conduct of the election.
Kenyatta is categorical that prayers sought for in the petition are inviting the court to “to stage a coup against the constitutional governance of Kenya” as the prayers will not only invalidate the presidential election but even the parliamentary, gubernatorial, senatorial and county assembly elections.