, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 13 – Focus will be on the Supreme Court this week as it seeks to determine three petitions challenging President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election during last month’s fresh presidential election.
Parties to the suits are expected to file their written submissions by midday Monday ahead of the pre-trial conference set for Tuesday.
Responses to the applications are to be filed and also served by 5pm according to guidelines issued by Chief Justice David Maraga.
Parties wishing to be admitted in the petitions as friends of court are required to file and serve applications by 5pm Monday.
During the pre-trial conference, the Supreme Court bench will give crucial guidelines to parties litigating the matters including timelines within which counsel representing various parties shall make their oral submissions in court.
Other than two petitions challenging President Kenyatta’s re-election, the court is also seized of a petition filed ahead of the declaration of the outcome of the October 26 presidential election in which activist Okiya Omtatah contends that there was no election held.
Omtatah is challenging the electoral commission’s decision to proceed to conduct a presidential election on October 26 without conducting fresh nominations.
Deputy Supreme Court Registrar Daniel ole Keiwua on Friday said Omtatah’s matter will be heard by a bench to be constituted by Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu.
Omtatah filed the petition on grounds that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had overlooked the 2013 presidential election petition ruling which envisaged a situation where the only contenders in the fresh election would be President Kenyatta and National Super Alliance (NASA) candidate Raila Odinga.
Following Odinga’s withdrawal from the race on October 10, Omtatah argues that IEBC should have exited the scheduled election under Article 140 (3) of the Constitution and moved on to prepare for an election under Article 138 (8) (b) of the Constitution.
The argument that a fresh election could be conducted under Article 138 (8) (b) following Odinga’s withdrawal, however, remains a hotly contested issue since the said Article anticipates the vacation of a scheduled election if a candidate in the election or his deputy dies before the scheduled election date.