Fresh cases challenging President Kenyatta re-election in court

Saturday November 11 2017

Kenya’s Supreme Court in session during the 2017 presidential petition.

Kenya’s Supreme Court in session during the 2017 presidential petition. The court will from November 14 begin another gruelling seven-day session to determine whether President Uhuru Kenyatta will be sworn-in. PHOTO | AFP 

By ERICK ODUOR
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The Supreme Court of Kenya will from November 14 begin another gruelling seven-day session to determine whether President Uhuru Kenyatta will be sworn-in.

At least six judges of Kenya’s apex court will preside over a status conference where the parties to the presidential election petitions will agree on the rules of engagement to pave the way for hearing and determination of the cases.

In their pleadings, three petitioners want the repeat presidential elections held on October 26 declared null and void due to numerous mistakes by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

The electoral commission, the first petitioner, has dropped the lawyers who lost to the National Super Alliance legal team in the petition that challenged President Kenyatta’s re-election on August 8 polls.  

At the centre of the petition that has not attracted a reaction by the main opposition party  —  National Super Alliance (Nasa) —  even though its lawyers have been served, is lack of nomination of presidential candidates by political parties given that the October poll was not a rerun.

Nasa lawyers argue that the October 26 polls were not conducted in line with the Constitution and the Supreme Court ruling in 2013, which stipulated that when a presidential elections are invalidated, fresh polls should be carried out.

One of the petitioners, Harun Mwau, argued that IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati violated the Constitution when he went ahead to gazette the names of the candidates who participated in the repeat election without starting the process afresh as required by law.

“By refusing to conduct fresh nominations, IEBC and its chairman (Wafula) Chebukati violated the Constitution, thereby denying citizens the right to vote or stand for the election,” reads the petition.

Two civil society activists, Njonjo Mue and Khelef Khalifa, also petitioned the court to invalidate the results, saying the electoral commission arbitrarily gazetteed the names of candidates without following the law.

However, Mr Mue’s petition is likely to generate some heat at the hearing after the Jubilee Party claimed that it was filed past the required time, and is ready to push for it to be knocked out on a technicality.