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Nullifying poll results could spark a crisis, electoral body boss warns

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Updated Fri, March 29th 2013 at 00:00 GMT +3

By Pamela Chepkemei

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Issack Hassan has urged the Supreme Court to act with restraint in deciding the presidential election dispute to avert a constitutional crisis.

Through his lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi, the IEBC boss, who has been sued in an election petition filed by CORD presidential candidate Raila Odinga, told the six-Judge Bench that nullification of the presidential election results would plunge the country into a constitutional crisis.

“It will be good for the country and the court to adopt a restraint and cautious approach,” said Mr Ahmednasir.

He said a decision to grant Raila’s prayers to invalidate the whole process would have serious social and economic repercussions.

“There will be enormous constitutional crisis facing this country. The Coalition Government will continue indefinitely,” said Ahmednasir.

Citing from decisions made by the Supreme Courts of America, Philippines and Uganda, on presidential election disputes, Ahmednasir said no country had allowed a petition seeking nullification of presidential elections. He told the judges hearing the case their decision may make build or break the Supreme Court.

“You must show restraint; this is not a political issue but a philosophical evolution. A judgment with political consequences is facing you today,” he argued.

8,000 votes

He defended the process as credible and one in which Kenyans peacefully voted for leaders of their choice. He also defended the IEBC boss against allegations by Raila that he manipulated the results in favour of President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta.

He said Hassan would not have rigged the election in favour of Uhuru by a margin of 8,000 votes.

“The margin is that small. It shows the elections were credible and there was integrity in the whole process,” he said.

He dismissed the case as only based on what he described as Raila’s doctrine of a free and fair election, which is that he must win.

The lawyer said the General Election of March 4 redeemed the country’s image considering what happened in the aftermath of 2007 elections.

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