Supreme Court to hear case seeking to halt poll Wednesday

October 24, 2017 3:39 pm
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“The matter is to be heard at 10am tomorrow notwithstanding that it may be a public holiday,” read the directions issued by CJ Maraga/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 24 – A petition in which three Kenyan voters want the Supreme Court to halt Thursday’s fresh presidential election will be heard on Wednesday.

This is after Chief Justice David Maraga admitted the matter and certified it as urgent.

“The matter is to be heard at 10am tomorrow notwithstanding that it may be a public holiday,” the directions issued by CJ Maraga say.

The CJ who is also the President of the Supreme Court directed the three petitioners to serve their written submissions along with the petition on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati, IEBC – who have been listed as the respondents – and all eight presidential candidates.

He further directed Chebukati, IEBC and the eight presidential candidates to file their written responses by 8.30am Wednesday morning.

The petition filed by city lawyer Harun Ndubi on behalf of the petitioners who are registered voters in Nyali, Westlands and Mathare constituencies cite that ‘there is an imminent risk that the country may be plunged into a further constitutional and general crisis’ should the IEBC proceed to conduct the election on Thursday.

Samuel Mohochi, Gacheke Gachohi and Khelef Khalifa argue stopping Thursday’s election will save the Kenyan taxpayers from ‘monetary loss running into billions of shillings’ because the election result may be subject to judicial contest for failing to satisfy the minimum legal and constitutional threshold.

The petitioners allude to recent pronouncements by IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati and self-exiled former Commissioner Roselyn Akombe they cannot guarantee a credible election due to what they term as ‘shocking internal strife’ in the Commission.

Akombe resigned last week and fled to the US, citing frustration and threats to her life.

In her resignation letter, Akombe said the IEBC was captive to political party interests and could not hold a credible poll.

Chebukati, followed cue when he told a state-of-preparedness news briefing that he could not guarantee a credible poll unless politicians allowed them to work without interference.

The IEBC has repeatedly announced it will proceed with the election and President Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party has stated the poll must go on, with or without NASA’s Raila Odinga who withdrew from the October 26 election, citing IEBC’s failure to effect the reforms.

The Supreme Court judges on September 1 nullified the August 8 presidential election and directed that the commission holds fresh elections within 60 days.

The judges said that the IEBC committed ‘illegalities and irregularities’ that led to the overturning of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s win.

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