, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 15 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission on Tuesday defended its actions, in the conduct of the fresh presidential poll last month, to the Supreme Court.
Through lawyers Waweru Gatonye and Kamau Karuri, the Commission submitted that it did its best to deliver on a credible poll under difficult circumstances.
It addressed Opposition leader Raila Odinga’s withdrawal from the presidential race late in the day and its decision to go ahead and declare President Uhuru Kenyatta winner despite it being unable to hold the election in four counties on account of violent protests and the safety threat to its staff.
More importantly, Karuri submitted, the Commission had stayed true to the Supreme Court and Constitution’s requirement of it to hold the fresh polls within 60 days of September 1.
This despite what Kimani Muhoro, also for the Commission, painted as a nefarious scheme to actively sabotage the successful conduct of the poll.
It also dealt with the question of nomination of candidates for the presidential election explaining that it did not carry out fresh nominations for the October 26 poll on the strength of the Supreme Court judgment of 2013 in the Raila Odinga case.
“To good students of law, a statement of law, by the apex court of the country, whether it be obiter dictum (not legally binding) is entitled to the greatest respect,” Gatonye explained.
It thereafter explained its inclusion of all eight candidates who participated in the annulled August 8 presidential election and their refusal to take Odinga off ballot paper the despite his insistence.
“It cannot be said entry is regulated and exit is unregulated. Had Odinga won in the October 26 election, would he have said I withdrew and therefore cannot accept victory. What evidence would we have as far as his withdrawal is concerned?” Mahat Somane, also for the Commission, submitted.
The Commission made the submissions in response Harun Mwau’s contention, in his petition challenging the validity of the poll, that the Commission broke the law in failing to carry out fresh nominations.