, NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 12 – The Council of Governors is challenging the constitutionality of a proposed law that seeks to amend the elections law by allowing only one appeal in an election petition.
CoG Chairman and Meru Governor Peter Munya stated that the amendment means that the Supreme Court will only hear and determine the presidential election petition while those arising from disputed election of governors, senators, Members of Parliament and Woman Representatives will end at the Court of Appeal.
He argues that the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill 2017 seeks to amend the Elections Act No. 25 of 2011 and introduce new requirements among others, allowing only one appeal in an election petition thereby limiting the jurisdiction of the courts to hear and determine election petitions.
“A Bill of this nature goes against the will of Kenyans who overwhelmingly endorsed the Constitution which explicitly provides for access to the highest court in the land,” he told a news conference on Wednesday.
Munya adds that the proposals are in disregard of the precedence set by the Supreme Court after the 2013 elections that it has jurisdiction to hear all appeals arising from poll petitions.
County bosses argue that this law locks out those with genuine justifiable reasons from defecting after the deadline hence it is improper in a democratic society.
“As a matter of fact, in various election petitions emanating from the 2013 General Election, the Supreme Court pronounced itself on the parameters of appeals it can entertain. It is already set in jurisprudence that for interpretation of the Constitution and matters of high public interest, appeals shall lie up to the Supreme Court. Indeed, this Bill is unconstitutional,” the Meru Governor noted.
The Bill is currently at the debating stage formally known as the Second Reading in the National Assembly.
After the March 2013 General Election, 188 poll-related cases were filed in the courts for determination, led by the presidential election petition by CORD’s Raila Odinga challenging the election of Jubilee Coalition’s Uhuru Kenyatta.
Twenty of the petitions arose from the election of governors, 13 senatorial, 70 National Assembly and nine cases relating to the election of woman reps.
Cases relating to the election of Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) were 67 while for Speaker of County Assembly there were five.
Out of these, 24 were allowed and 115 dismissed on the weight of arguments before the courts.
Seventeen cases were withdrawn and 31 struck out on technical grounds.
A number of the 188 cases were allowed or dismissed by the Supreme Court after aggrieved parties sought the court’s interpretation of the Constitution.