NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 10 – The Jubilee Party has alleged that there was conflict of interest in the High Court bench that issued the ruling on the printing of presidential ballots for the August 8 election.
Speaking during a press conference Monday, Secretary General Raphael Tuju claimed that Justice George Odunga who was part of the three-judge bench was a relative of James Orengo, one of the NASA Coalition Co-Chairmen.
He explained that this could have influenced the judgment and further queried whether Chief Justice David Maraga was aware of this fact.
“Justice Odunga is related to James Orengo through marriage. He did not declare this, thus there is a conflict of interest. The younger sibling of Odunga’s wife is actually named James Orengo. Did Chief Justice Maraga knew all this?” he posed.
Speaking at the same time, Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki stated that Justice Odunga should have declared this conflict of interest beforehand.
“This is a clear conflict of interest case in our opinion and the judge should have stated this and withdrawn himself,” he stated.
Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen further said that President Uhuru Kenyatta was within his legal rights to critique the Judiciary.
“We fully associate ourselves with the sentiments of our President. He spoke with restraint and we all have a greater responsibility to critique the Judiciary,” he said.
Leader of the Majority in the National Assembly Aden Duale stated that the decisions emanating from the Judiciary are laced with bias.
On Friday, the High Court quashed award of the tender for printing of presidential ballots for the August 8, 2017 election to Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing Company.
In its ruling, a three-judge bench hearing a judicial review filed by the National Super Alliance (NASA) found that the electoral commission failed to conduct adequate public participation, a move that goes against constitutional requirements.
The bench which included Justices Joseph Mativo, Joel Ngugi and Odunga and found that public participation in the direct procurement process was necessary for free, fair elections.
Further, the bench found IEBC’s decision to meet representatives of Jubilee and NASA at the exclusion of other parties fielding presidential candidates was inappropriate.
Following this, President Uhuru Kenyatta said that the orders being issued by the courts appear to be designed to scuttle the election and it was an unacceptable affair.
The Head of State said Kenyans will go to the polls on August 8 whether the Opposition is ready or not and despite the constant threats of violence from leading opposition figures.
He assured Kenyans that the elections will be free and fair and that the government will ensure they take place in a peaceful environment.
Chief Justice David Maraga however denied the claims that he urged the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, against proceeding to print ballot papers pending a case filed by the Opposition coalition, NASA.