IEBC, Uhuru must file responses to Raila case by Thursday midnight

August 24, 2017 6:00 am
The amended Supreme Court Presidential Election Petition rules provide four days, from the time of service, for the respondents to file and serve their responses/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 24 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, its Chairman Wafula Chebukati and President Uhuru Kenyatta have until midnight to file their responses to the petition by Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka by midnight tonight.

The amended Supreme Court Presidential Election Petition rules provide four days, from the time of service, for the respondents to file and serve their responses.

The Supreme Court registry will, as it did on the last day for filing petitions, remain open until midnight.

IEBC Chief Executive Ezra Chiloba on Tuesday gave the assurance that their legal team would be complying with the set timelines after having already turned over to the court, all the originals of the presidential election result forms.

“We expect that by Thursday this week we’ll be filing our responses with regards to the petition,” he told reporters outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday when hand-delivering the forms.

Chief Justice David Maraga on Monday also issued directions on the filing of written submissions with co-petitioners Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka given until 1pm Friday to file and serve theirs.

The respondents – IEBC, Chebukati and President Kenyatta – have until 7pm Friday to file their written submissions.

The petitioners will then have until 9am Saturday to file and serve a rejoinder to the respondents’ submissions with any party seeking to file an application in relation the petition having until Friday 1pm to file and serve it together with written submissions limited to five pages.

Responses to any such applications should be served and filed together with written submissions by Friday 7pm.

And any party wishing to be admitted to the petition as amicus curiae has until Friday 1pm to file and serve their application, brief included.

According to the Supreme Court rules on a presidential election petition, a pre-trial conference shall be held eight days after its filing.

And given Odinga and Musyoka filed their petition on August 18, the pre-trial conference should take place on Saturday; an extension of time is however provided for in the rules.

“Subject to the Constitution, the court may extend the time for doing anything required to be done under these rules.”

The uncertainty surrounding the holding of the pre-trial conference on Saturday is pegged on a previous assertion by Chief Justice Maraga (when he interviewed for the job in fact) that being a Seventh Day Adventist, he cannot preside in a case on Saturday, even a presidential election petition.

READ: My faith would supersede presidential petition, aspiring CJ declares

The purpose of a pre-trial conference is to frame the issues in the petition, give directions on when the petitions will be heard and any other orders as may be necessary.

Overall, once filed, the Supreme Court has 14 days within which to hear and determine a presidential election petition as set out in Article 140(2) of the Constitution.

Once the hearing of the petition starts, it will be heard on a day-to-day basis until conclusion.

The Supreme Court rules do however give the bench room to give its decision and reserve its reasons, as it did in 2013, for delivery on a date not exceeding 14 days.

Should the bench find, as Odinga hopes it will, the August 8 presidential election to be invalid, a fresh election shall be held within 60 days of the determination.

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