Lawyers drop demand for register over Ksh.80 million printing bill


CJ Maraga
Chief Justice David Maraga at the Supreme Court

Legal battles are in no doubt expensive affairs and more so, when it comes to a presidential election petition.

In the petition challenging President Uhuru Kenyatta’s win in the October 26 election, human rights activists Njonjo Mue and Khelef Khalifa were left reeling in shock after they were asked to pay a whopping Ksh.80 million for the printing of a copy of the voters register.

The two, through their lawyers, demanded to be furnished with a hard copy of the voters register to bolster their case that there were issues with the number of votes cast in the repeat election where Kenyatta was declared the winner with 7.4 million votes.

The apex court, led by Chief Justice David Maraga granted the petitioners their wish to have a copy of the register, but pointed out that they should foot the cost.

In a rejoinder, the IEBC agreed to avail the voluminous document, but on condition that the petitioners deposit Ksh.80 million in the commission’s accounts as cost for printing the 450,000-page document at a factory.

“Kindly note that our client the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, is ready and willing to immediately comply with the court order in issue subject only to you facilitating the costs… For avoidance of doubt, the amount is Kenya Shillings Eighty Million (Ksh.80,000,000),” IEBC replied through lawyer Lucy Kambuni.

The petitioners’ lawyer Harun Ndubi urged the court to compel the State to help them in footing the hefty amount, a plea that was declined by Chief Justice David Maraga.

“If you wanted the copies, you should be ready to pay for it,” said Maraga.

IEBC’s team submitted that to comply with the court order, the register had to be printed in a factory, otherwise it would take at least two weeks to print the copies.

The petitioners had no option but to soften their stand and accept to take a soft copy of the register.

On Wednesday morning, the Supreme Court ruled that the IEBC should grant the petitioners access to all result declaration forms used in the October 26 repeat presidential election.

Ruling on an application filed by Njonjo Mue and Khelef Khalifa, the Supreme Court asked the commission to avail all Forms 34A, 34B and 34C as well as a certified copy of the voter register at the cost of the petitioners.

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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