Two civil society organisations have made their last bid to have the court order that the General Election be held this year.
On Tuesday, the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness and the Caucus for Women Leadership asked the Court of Appeal to specifically declare that elections should be held latest by October 14, 2012.
They want the court to declare that any extension of the date should only be possible with an amendment to the Constitution.
Their lawyer, Stephen Mwenesi, made the submissions before five Court of Appeal judges in a case challenging the decision of the High Court not to declare a specific date for the elections. The judges are Erastus Githinji, Kalpana Rawal, Martha Koome, Hannah Okwengu and David Maranga.
And should the Court of Appeal disagree with them, they can resort to the Supreme Court, where the dispute had first been taken last year before it was referred to the High Court.
Two cases seeking determination of the election date were filed by Kilome MP Harun Mwau and politician Mugambi Imanyara. High Court judges Isaac Lenaola, Mumbi Ngugi and David Majanja provided two alternatives of getting an election date. That was by the expiry of the term of the current parliament or by dissolution of the Grand Coalition Government by President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
The judges, however, ruled that the actual date in any event, would be set by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
Following the decision, the IEBC set March 14, 2013 as the election date. Two appeals were filed, one by the organisations and by Mwau. The Court of Appeal on Tuesday consolidated the cases. The lobby groups argued that though they were not party to the High Court cases, they had constitutional rights and authority under the Court of Appeal rules to file the appeal as entities interested in political and development matters of the country, including the elections.
“We felt the decision was wrong and court had misdirected itself and the counsel who appeared in it may not have done justice to the question determined,” Mwenesi said.
Mwenesi argued that by offering the two alternatives, the High Court failed to live up to the expectations of the Supreme Court and the country to give a specific date.
“The aim of the Constitution was to remove the secret weapon of the president in determining election dates. You can’t say this then give same powers to the President and Prime Minister,” the lawyer argued.
At the High Court, the parties advocated for various dates including the second Tuesday of August 2012, 60 days after January 1, 2013 and the AG favoured a date in December 2012.