Uhuru’s lawyers race against time to beat petition deadline

Uhuru’s lawyers race against time to beat petition deadline
Judges of the Supreme Court during hearing of the August 8 election petition

Legal teams for President Uhuru Kenyatta, the electoral commission and its chairman Wafula Chebukati will today (Sunday, November 12) file their responses to two petitions seeking to invalidate the October 26 repeat presidential election.

One of the petitions was filed by former Kilome Member of Parliament Harun Mwau and the other by activists Njonjo Mue and Khelef Khalifa.

The Supreme Court has exactly eight days to hear and determine the two petitions seeking to invalidate last month’s repeat presidential election. With the countdown on, the apex court’s registry remained open through the weekend to enable respondents submit their responses by the Sunday, November 12 deadline.

For President Kenyatta’s legal team led by Fred Ngatia, it was a race against time on Saturday, as they finalised their responses to the petitions that seek to nullify the repeat polls, where the incumbent garnered 7.4 million votes, in a contest boycotted by NASA leader Raila Odinga over claims of an uneven playing field.

The legal teams for the President will be moving to court today after a final consultative meeting at State House, Nairobi.

Senior Counsel Ngatia and his team will be seeking to defend their client’s victory before the same panel of judges he (Uhuru) claimed had been compromised to snatch his August victory, and labelled them ‘wakora network’.

The IEBC’s legal team, led by Waweru Gatonye is also expected to file its submissions on Sunday. The petitioners have accused IEBC of conducting an election without strictly adhering to the Constitution and applicable election laws and failing to conduct fresh nominations prior to the repeat presidential election.

Those seeking to be enjoined in the petitions as interested parties have until Monday to file their applications for consideration by the Supreme Court judges.

Thirdway Alliance presidential candidate in last month’s polls, Dr. Ekuru Aukot filed an application on Saturday, November 11, seeking to be enjoined in both petitions arguing he has a direct and legitimate interest in the cases.

Aukot who garnered 23,000 votes says his rights would be violated if he was left out of the proceedings. Those seeking to be enjoined as amicus curiae (friends of the court) also have until Monday to file their applications.

With focus yet against shifting to the 7-judge Supreme Court bench, Chief Justice David Maraga kept to his Saturday routine, attending a Sabbath service at the Nairobi Central Adventist church to seek divine guidance ahead of tough week.

The country’s top judge remained tight-lipped, as the clock ticks to the court’s verdict that must be rendered by November 20th, to determine if Kenyatta will be sworn in on November 28th or Kenyans will return to the ballot for the third time in six months, in mid-January next year.

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Story By Francis Gachuri
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