Race against time in Kethi’s Makueni court battle

July 15, 2013 2:15 pm
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A three-judge bench appointed by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga spent Monday discussing preliminary issues with the parties involved/LABAN WANAMBISI
A three-judge bench appointed by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga spent Monday discussing preliminary issues with the parties involved/LABAN WANAMBISI
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 15 – The hearing of a petition by Kethi Kilonzo in which she seeks inclusion in the July 26 Makueni Senate by-election will start on Tuesday.

A three-judge bench appointed by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga spent Monday discussing preliminary issues with the parties involved.

“Hearing of the petition will be by way of written submissions, followed by highlights which will commence at 10am on Tuesday,” Justice Richard Mwongo stated.

“Each party will be allocated 20 minutes to highlight their written submissions,” he said. “Each of the petitioners will have 10 minutes each to reply to the highlights and then I think we will be able to come to a close of the hearing if possible by lunch break tomorrow (Tuesday).”

The judges said that the case will be heard and determined within the shortest time possible.

“We recognise that we don’t have the luxury of time due to the timelines mentioned in law,” said Justice Mwongo, who is hearing the petition alongside fellow judges Weldon Korir and Mumbi Ngugi.

Lawyers Tom Kajwang appearing for the Wiper Democratic Movement Party, Harun Ndubi and Julie Soweto for Kethi, had earlier urged the court to set Wednesday as the commencement day for the hearing of the case. They argued that this would give the other parties who had yet to file responses to the petition time to do so.

IEBC through lawyer Kimani Muhoro said that the poll agency would like the matter to be expedited because it was delaying the printing of the election materials.

Kajwang backed the call to expedite the hearing of the petition saying the Wiper Democratic Movement feels its candidate is being disadvantaged because of the uncertainty surrounding her nomination.

“My client is of the opinion that he might not have time to do his best, if the matter is not disposed off before the end of the campaign period,” he said.

Justice Isaac Lenaola who disqualified himself from hearing the case, had on Friday declined Kethi’s prayer to stop the on-going campaigns and preparation for the by-election by the IEBC, saying that if the court ruled in her favour, the polls body would ensure her names appears on the ballot.

At the same time, the court on Monday excused the Labour Party of Kenya and Harun Mwau from the case.

Kethi moved to court two days after the IEBC Disputes Resolution Committee revoked her nomination to vie for the Makueni Senate seat after ruling she was not a registered voter.

Kethi’s lawyers insist she is duly registered as a voter and was cleared by the IEBC to run for the Makueni Seat.

Kethi wants the IEBC gazette notice that excluded her from the list of candidates eyeing the Makueni seat suspended.

The IEBC Dispute Resolution Committee says it is ready to demonstrate that Kethi is not registered voter.

During the dispute resolution by the committee, Kethi was tasked to prove her registration but failed the test with the IEBC saying that her voter registration slip was “stolen”.

Athanus Muthoka and the Narc party were listed as the seventh and eighth interested parties after the three bench was satisfied that they had been served with the documents to facilitate the commencing of the suit.

The two were not represented during Monday’s proceedings.

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