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Kenyan judges to endure prejudicial public debate of electoral petition


Kenya Chief Justice Koome

Nairobi, Kenya | THE INDEPENDENT |  By the end of this week, Kenyans and others interested in the 2022 General Elections could have a clear picture of the truths about the results of the polls. The Supreme Court of Kenya will give its verdict either annulling or upholding the results not later than next Monday.

However, the seven-member panel of judges has an additional task of closing their ears to the public debate of the petitions and the affidavits filed by different parties. Lawyers and party officials from both sides have widely engaged in discussing the submissions of the two sides in the court proceedings.

There are eight petitions against the results and one in support. William Ruto is lined up alongside the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and the seven commissioners. However, the commission is divided with four out of the seven already having filed affidavits opposed to the declared results.

On the side of Chairman Wafula Chebukati are commissioners Boya Molu and Abdi Yakub Guliye and Chief Executive Officer, Hussein Marjan. While the four that have sworn opposing affidavits are Vice chairperson Julianna Cherera and commissioners Justus Nyang’aya, Francis Wandei, and Irene Masit.

Commissioner Nyang’aya in his affidavit states that a foreign national, Gudino Omor, Abdidahir Maalim, Moses Sunkuli, and Gideon Balang were able to access IEBC servers, deleted some Form 34As results, and uploaded other results. Ms. Cherera added that Chebukati printed a separate set of the forms and acted alone in the final stages of tallying and announcing the results.

Related submissions were made by the rest of the four commissioners who claim that in total, there were 372 people who had access to the server. Moses Sunkuli, the Election Coordinator at the IEBC says in his submission that all Form 34As were collected as announced by polling officers at the polling stations and the results was above expectations.

This is re-echoed by Moses Nkule, the Acting Director for Voter Registration.

One submission that has raised new grounds for debate is when the commission states that the officials met Azimio officials before daybreak on the day the results were due to be announced, and the latter tried to force the commission to either announce Raila Odinga as a winner or declare a rerun, but that the IEBC stuck to their tallying process.

In a press brief Raphael Tuju, the Azimio la Umoja Chief Executive tasked the IEBC officials to also explain what happened at their meeting with William Ruto’s team minutes before…

“As we were meeting the IEBC official that morning, the IEBC official Guliye left the meeting for a washroom with a phone. He spent a long time there and after we were leaving after the meeting, we found Veronica and Nanok at the doorstep, and they went to meet Chebukati” he said. Tuju is now pressing the IEBC chairman to disclose what they talked about with the UDA officials.

Tuju dismissed the allegations that he wanted to make the commission alter the results in favour of Raila or a rerun. He said he met with Chebukati to discuss the reports he had received on altering of form 34As after receiving the information from an official of the commission.

“This gentleman was so terrified and he actually mentioned the case that he had been threatened by Marjan when he brought it up with him that he should not play with him, he will know who Marjan is,” said Tuju.  Later Tuju says he managed to beat security and entered the Tally Centre but that he was blocked from talking to Chebukati on claims that he was busy receiving forms from returning officers.

Tuju said that by then, Chebukati had ordered all County Retuning Officers to report to him first before the papers were verified. The announced President-elect William Ruto said through his Twitter handle on Sunday, that he hoped the court will remain as steadfast as the IEBC and the voters in the wake of the hostility from his opponent.

“Bribery, Intimidation, and Blackmail did not sway our voters. Bribery, Intimidation, and Blackmail did not sway IEBC. We are confident that Bribery, Intimidation, and Blackmail will not sway our courts!” Ruto said. “We should allow independent institutions to discharge their mandate free of intimidation, coercion and blackmail. That is how we can move forward as a democracy,” he added.

But his supporter and former lawyer for Uhuru Kenyatta in the 2017 election petition, Ahmednasir Abdullahi lashed at those who think the Supreme Court can remain independent through the process.

“You are both naive and stupid if you think the owner of the Cherere four Commissioners has not made a similar move on the seven judges of the Supreme Court as he did with the seven IEBC Commissioners. The sponsor of Hon. Raila is desperate and with the Supreme Court, he will take no chance,” he said in his ongoing critique of Odinga.



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