Kenya’s Supreme Court sits till midnight on Election petition

Uhuru KenyattaAs an indication of the seriousness attached to the Supreme Court case challenging the validity of the results of the 2013 elections in Kenya, the Judges on Monday stated that they would sit on the case everyday till 12 midnight. They maintained that the case is not an ordinary civil action, but “one that affects the lives of the 40 million Kenyans”, assuring that no delay tactics would be countenanced.

A further show of the Judges’ intention to expedite the case was seen in the allocation of time for presentation by the parties in the case. Out of a total of seven hours of sitting each day, five hours, comprising two and a half hours each, has allocated equally to the respondents and petitioners to make their case.

At yesterday’s sitting, the Judges ordered the re- tallying of the presidential votes in 22 polling stations where the final tally was under dispute, using form ‘34’ and form ’36’ to determine the number of votes cast against the number of registered voters.

Justice Smokin Wanjala who read the ruling stated that the re-tallying was for the purpose of validating the number of votes as was reflected in form ‘34′ which has the documented results for the respective polling stations.
Wanjala further directed that form ’34’ and form ’36’ from all 33,000 polling stations across the country be scrutinised to determine the total number of votes cast, the valid votes and the rejected votes.

Part of the ruling on the forms additionally directed the IEBC to provide the principal register against which the aggregated results from form 34 would reflect on form 3 6. The court gave the instructions for the re- tallying which will take place on Wednesday from 8am at a location to be disclosed to all the parties in the proceeding. Both the petitioners and the respondents will be expected to jointly appoint 10 agents for the scrutiny of the re- tallying exercise.

Justice Wanjala also directed that the agents will be taken through an oath of secrecy and confidentiality beforehand that will be administered by the registrar of the high court. The findings of the scrutiny will then be tabled with the registrar of the Supreme Court no later than 4pm on March 27.

Yesterday, the court also approved the application of the Attorney General to join the Cord petition, as Amicus Curiae, challenging the presidential outcome in which Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner following the March 4 polls. While delivering the ruling, Justice Jackton Ojwang’ stated that the court would be wrong not to include the AG, adding that the court remains the determinant of the extent to which the AG would make contributions.

The application by the LSK to be enjoined as a friend to the court was rejected on the grounds that while A. B. Shah, the legal counsel for the LSK did not make a strong case for the body’s case, all other respondents and petitioners provided enough reasons to disqualify LSK from being enjoined.

The pre-trial conference will continue today before going to trial either on Wednesday or Thursday. The court has up to Saturday to return a ruling on the case in keeping with the constitution timeline of a verdict 14 days’ after the filing of the petition.

Source: The New Statesman

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