Supreme Court verdict on presidential petition due at 11am

September 1, 2017 8:49 am
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The judges have the option of upholding President Kenyatta’s election or invalidate the results and pave way for a fresh presidential election/CFM NEWS

, NAIROBI, Kenya Sep 1 – The Supreme Court was on Friday 11 am set to deliver a ruling on the presidential petition by NASA leader Raila Odinga.

Hearing on the petition challenging the re-election of Uhuru Kenyatta as President was concluded on Tuesday.

“The Supreme Court will deliver the ruling on the 2017 Presidential petition at 11 am today,” a notification from the Judiciary said.

Security around the Supreme Court is already tight, with key roads blocked to motorists. There is also restricted access to pedestrians.

Odinga had asked the court to invalidate the election results declared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), citing what his lawyers described as massive irregularities, but the electoral commission mounted defense saying the poll was credible. President Kenyatta’s lawyers too said the same.

Among the issues the judges will be grappling with are whether there were irregularities in the poll and, if so, whether they were massive enough to annul the results.

The judges have the option of upholding President Kenyatta’s election or invalidate the results and pave way for a fresh presidential election.

In the event the judges uphold the election, President Kenyatta will be sworn in on the first Tuesday on expiry of 7 days from Friday September 1, the day of the ruling. In this case September 12.

But if the election is nullified, Kenyans will have to go back to elections in 60 days.

Police across the country have been put on standby ahead of the Friday ruling, to ensure peace is maintained in case supporters of any side of the political divide start riots.

In his submissions in court, Attorney-General Githu Muigai said that the threshold required to disturb the election is such that the evidence has to disclose profound irregularities in the management of the electoral process.

Whereas President Kenyatta, through lawyers Ahmednasir Abdullahi and Fred Ngatia, stated that a voter should not be punished for the mistakes of poll officials, Odinga argued that the process should have been clean.

Abdullahi said that in 99 per cent of the cases, the court can only invalidate a presidential election on the transgressions of the voter.

He added that were the petition to succeed, the court would have to find that the 15 million Kenyans who voted on August 8 do not count.

The issue of rejected votes was brought back to court once again as Odinga pleaded with the court to revisit the matter.

During the 2013 election petition, it was argued that a ballot paper once rejected, or declared void by law, is incapable of expressing any preference for or against a candidate.

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