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Karua takes presidential petition to East African Court, wants compensation from government

Martha Karua at the KICC on August 22, 2022 shortly after filing presidential petition against William Ruto’s win. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

Martha Karua, the running mate of Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya candidate in the August 9, 2022 presidential election Raila Odinga, has filed a petition at the East African Court of Justice seeking an alternative opinion on whether Kenya’s Supreme Court verdict was fair.

In the petition filed on Thursday, November 3 alongside the Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) group, Karua has told the Arusha-based court that Azimio’s grievances in the presidential petition were not fairly addressed.

Raila Odinga lost the presidential race to William Ruto, who got 7.18 million votes (50.49 per cent) to be declared the winner. Odinga received 6.94 million votes (48.85 per cent) to take the first runner-up slot.

Karua, in her latest petition, listed Kenya’s Attorney-General Justin Muturi as the sole respondent.

The Narc-Kenya Party leader, through her lawyer Donald Deya, says the East African Court has the jurisdiction to consider and determine her petition.

“This court has the jurisdiction to ensure the adherence to law in the interpretation and application of and compliance with the [East African Community] treaty,” said Karua.

Karua accuses the IEBC and its chairperson Wafula Chebukati of infringing on Kenyans’ rights by declaring President William Ruto the winner of the presidential race, yet the election was “marred by irregularities”.

She said she was seeking an alternative view after Kenya’s Supreme Court upheld Ruto’s victory in circumstances that she’s disputing.

“As a result of the actions of the impugned organs of the respondent State, and past conduct, the applicants (Karua and MUHURI), and others aggrieved with the said-violations, earnestly feel that they will not receive any sufficient redress, unless this court takes measures to redress this situation,” said Karua and MUHURI in their joint suit.

Karua named the IEBC and the Supreme Court of Kenya as the State organs that “denied Kenyans justice” in regard to the presidential election.

Karua accuses the IEBC of, among others, “allowing unauthorised persons to gain access to the IEBC servers in order to delete or upload doctored electoral results”.

While referring to the split among IEBC commissioners on the day election results were announced, August 15, Karua said: “the chairperson of IEBC published electoral results that had been rejected by a majority of IEBC commissioners”.

Karua further said that the IEBC failed to “investigate and respond to complaints” made by her and Raila Odinga.

In her gripe against Kenya’s Supreme Court, Karua said the seven apex court judges “failed, neglected and refused to ensure that all parties to the presidential petition dispute were accorded a fair trial, with equality of arms”.

She further said that the Supreme Court failed to take adequate cognisance of the evidence lodged in court by her and Raila Odinga.

The reliefs Karua is seeking in her East African Court suit, is that the court declares the IEBC and Kenya Supreme Court’s actions violated the principles of democracy.

“The applicants (Karua and MUHURI) are seeking a declaration that the determination given by the Supreme Court of Kenya on September 8, 2022 and the detailed judgement of September 26, 2022, was not done in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and the laws of Kenya,” said Karua in the suit.

The senior counsel also wants the East African Court to direct Kenya to investigate the alleged omissions and commissions that she has highlighted in her suit.

She also wants that Kenya be ordered to compensate her and MUHURI for the Supreme Court ruling that upheld Ruto’s win.

On September 10, Karua had stated that she was contemplating filing a suit at the East African Court of Justice to seek an alternative opinion on the grievances she had raised against the IEBC and William Ruto’s victory.

Karua said she was aware the East African Court of Justice’s decision won’t have the ability to change Kenya’s presidency, but would give her the closure she needs.

“When a cooking stick breaks, it doesn’t mean the cooking ends. I’m fully aware that after the Supreme Court judgement, there’s no any other superior court that can resolve our dispute on the presidential election,” she said.

“However, we can seek another respected court’s opinion on whether the Supreme Court of Kenya granted us justice. It won’t be about who should occupy the president’s seat, but whether justice was served,” she added.

Karua and her principal, Raila Odinga, lost the presidential petition filed at the Supreme Court of Kenya over lack of evidence to occasion overturning of Ruto’s win in the August 9 polls.

The Azimio pair had alleged that hackers accessed the IEBC’s results transmission system and changed the outcome in Ruto’s favour.

The court said the petitioners did not produce evidence to prove those allegations.