NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 11 – The Supreme Court is on Wednesday expected to once again find itself playing referee in a bruising battle for the presidency.
The court is due to hear an application filed by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati on how he should go about verifying presidential election result forms originating from the polling station and constituency.
It is however likely to be called upon to arbitrate the latest spat between Opposition leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta.
This follows a declaration by Odinga on Tuesday that he had withdrawn his candidature for the October 26 presidential poll.
It is his expectation that the IEBC should call for an entirely fresh election and conduct nominations afresh.
It is however President Kenyatta’s expectation that following Odinga’s voluntary withdrawal, he should be declared duly re-elected.
According to insiders, IEBC is likely to turn to the Supreme Court for guidance as to what action to take given it was the court that directed a fresh presidential poll be held by October 31 and given a conflict in its rules and a Supreme Court opinion on how a withdrawal should be handled.
As for Chebukati’s application, Odinga filed his objection to the Returning Officer for the presidential election, being allowed to alter the result as announced at the polling station and constituency level.
Any discrepancies, Odinga has submitted to the court, should be handled by an election court and has accused Chebukati of seeking to appeal the Court of Appeal judgement on the matter through the back door.
In June, prior to the August 8 General Election, the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court finding that the Chairman of the IEBC should not alter the presidential result as declared by the Constituency Returning Officer.
This led the Commission to rely solely on the constituency result Forms 34B in its tally of the presidential election result.
The Supreme Court, when it later nullified the exercise, faulted the Commission for failing to verify the results from the 40,883 polling stations creating what Chebukati has unapologetically described as confusion given should he find a discrepancy between the polling station result as captured on the form 34A and 34B, he is without the power to remedy it.