, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 26 – Chief Justice David Maraga has expressed confidence that the Supreme Court will deliver the ruling on Presidential petition filed by NASA leader Raila Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka on time.
Maraga told KTN News at an interview Friday that the judges are fully seized of the matter and have spending long hours perusing through documents filed by Odinga and respondents in the case since last week.
He said the ruling on the matter will be delivered on Friday next week in line with the legal requirements on timelines governing presidential petitions.
Odinga is challenging the presidential election results released by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), insisting he was rigged out through a computer programme employed to favour his Jubilee Party opponent who also defeated him in 2013.
“It is really nothing other than what the nation expects of us. As a Supreme Court we are doing our very best to comb through these records and see the evidence each party has presented before us and of course decide the case on the basis of the evidence before us and the law and that we will so by Friday September 1. We do not have a choice,” he told the TV station in the interview aired on Friday night.
The status conference on the petition will be held at 7.00pm Saturday to iron out such details, as how long the listed parties will require to orally highlight their written submissions among others.
“We received these records especially from the respondents and mine came to me here after midnight. When I woke up, I started on it and I will go on until I am tired then I sleep,” he stated, “my colleagues are doing the same and you know the period is very short and the period is very short and the amount to be covered is enormous so we are doing as much as we humanly can.”
In his submissions, President Kenyatta dismissed the petition, and insisted that he won fairly.
“Despite such clear poll victory, Odinga has continuously disparaged the electoral win and coined such demeaning remarks as computer generated leaders. The Deputy President and I are not computer generated leaders (“vifaranga vya computer”),” the president said.
In his affidavit, President Kenyatta pointed to his development record as well as an intensive campaign he jointly marshalled with his running mate that saw them hold over six hundred campaign rallies, as the reason he won a second term.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and its Chairman Wafula Chebukati who are listed as respondents in the petition, too defended the results relied on to declare President Kenyatta winner, saying they are ready to demonstrate to the court that election held on August 8 was free and fair.
“I will not call myself an authority in elections but I have handled quite a number of electoral disputes and I have been chairing the judiciary committee on elections preparing for this. All the judges in the Supreme Court have handled electoral disputes so this is not entirely new,” the CJ said, adding, “Then of course, there are challenges which come. There are some challenges that have come in this petition which were not there in the 2013 one but that is how petitions are.”
A pre-trial conference will be held at the Supreme Court Saturday night to identify the issues for determination in petition.
The Supreme Court rules that govern the handling of a presidential election petition provide that a pre-trial conference should be held on the eighth day but there was uncertainty surrounding whether it would go forward on account of the Chief Justice being a staunch Seventh Day Adventist.
It is for this reason that the conference will be held from 6pm to iron out such other details as how long the listed parties will require to orally highlight their written submissions.
While appearing before the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for the interview for the position of the Chief Justice, Maraga vowed never to compromise his religious beliefs to attend to work on a Saturday if he is appointed Chief Justice.
He had stated that it would be very difficult for him to sit on a Saturday to hear a case indicating that he would rather talk with his colleagues in the court to accommodate him and exempt him from sitting if the hearing extends to a Saturday.
The then Court of Appeal Judge, who described himself as a staunch SDA member, went on to say that only a matter of life and death can make him miss church on Saturday, and cited an accident happening on his way to church in which case he would stop to help the victims.