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You have until midnight to challenge Uhuru poll victory

By Kamau Muthoni | Published Mon, November 6th 2017 at 00:00, Updated November 6th 2017 at 09:02 GMT +3
President Uhuru Kenyatta Photo:Courtesy

Developments at the Supreme Court will determine whether President Uhuru Kenyatta can assume office for a second term on November 14, the earliest possible date.

Midnight is the deadline for anyone who wants to file a petition challenging President Kenyatta's win in the October 26 repeat presidential election.

Electoral commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati declared Uhuru president-elect on October 30 after garnering 7.4 million votes (98 per cent) in the poll boycotted by Opposition leader Raila Odinga.

First Tuesday

If no petition is filed, the Constitution provides that the president-elect be sworn in on the first Tuesday following 14 days since the October 30 declaration by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Article 141(2) of the Constitution stipulates: "The President-elect shall be sworn in on the first Tuesday following - (a) the fourteenth day after the date of the declaration of the result of the presidential election, if no petition has been filed under Article 140."

In the event of an unsuccessful presidential election petition, President Uhuru could take the oath of office on November 28.

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"The President-elect shall be sworn in on the first Tuesday following - (b) the seventh day following the date on which the court renders a decision declaring the election to be valid, if any petition has been filed under Article 140," states the Constitution.

The Supreme Court has to render its decision on a presidential petition filed today before November 20.

But a successful petition could trigger events that could stretch to January next year.

This is because if the election will be annulled a second time, IEBC will have to conduct another election within 60 days.

Anyone disputing the election must deposit Sh1 million shillings as security.

The grounds upon which a petition may be filed include validity of the conduct of a presidential election, validity of the qualification of a President-elect, commission of an election offence; validity of the nomination of a presidential candidate or any other grounds the court deems, provided such grounds shall not be frivolous, vexatious or scandalous.

“Within 14 days after filing of a petition, the Supreme Court shall hear and determine the petition and its decision is final,” the law says.

It is widely expected that besides Raila's National Super Alliance (NASA), civil society groups critical of the outcome of the October 26 repeat presidential election could file the petition today.

Last week, Jubilee Party filed a pre-emptive petition seeking a declaration to uphold Uhuru's election in the October 26 repeat election.

The petition filed by Jubilee's Pokot South MP David Pkosing aims to address the legitimacy concerns raised by Raila by asking the judges to rule that Uhuru was validly elected despite the NASA boycott and the failure to conduct elections in 25 constituencies considered NASA strongholds.

Mr Pkosing argues his fear was as a result of the possibility of questioning the validity of Uhuru’s win based on the 25 constituencies that did not participate in the election and the low voter turnout occasioned by NASA’s withdrawal from the race.

His lawyer Kibe Mungai argues Raila and his NASA co-principals' intentions were to trigger a political crisis to force the formation of another Government not envisioned by the supreme law.

It is this reason the MP wants the Supreme Court to act fast and declare that NASA’s boycott and "sabotage" of the repeat election was inconsequential and had no bearing on Uhuru's re-election.

“It is important for the court to uphold the law and prevent a crisis by ensuring that the legality, legitimacy and validity of Mr Kenyatta’s win is upheld notwithstanding the acts of sabotage, subversion, violence and intimidation by NASA leaders and their supporters,” argues Mungai.



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