Tilting justice scales with trucks of files

Judge’s gavel, old clock and scale on dark background. [Getty Images]

I used to think writing fiction was difficult—until I saw a mid-sized truck deliver legal tomes to the Supreme Court, earlier in the week. It was the evidence that Azimio leader Raila Odinga aka Baba aka Tinga adduced in the case against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea that the seven Supreme Court judges, each with a set of eyes, will have to pore through those tomes.

Perhaps it helps that they wear those silly sheep wigs on their heads, maybe they serve as magic wands: if you rub a document on the head, it produces a summary, plus footnotes.

Raila— let’s call him Tinga this time, since he’s been dealing with locomotives to deliver his truckloads of evidence— has been using a singular expression, repeated with growing irritation: null and void, and a nullity. That’s his assessment of the outcome of the presidential poll that picked Bill Ruto as the winner.

The files contain repeated mentions of null and void and another Latin expression that I have taken a fancy to: ab initio, which means from the beginning. And when you start reading the documents, Tinga’s burden of proof lifts to what sounds like a fictional plane.

Here’s the thing. My perception of the IEBC boss Wafula Chebukati is that he’s a colourless character with a limited sense of imagination. My measure of the latter is the dull, soulless singing that he organised as he declared the contentious presidential results.

Now Tinga says all that was a façade to disguise Chebukati’s nefarious acts of commission or commission. Now, that’s a dull summation of the dramatic acts that Tinga claims were choreographed to deny him victory.

To understand Chebukati’s alleged charade, one has to start from the beginning, ab initio. When he claimed that his staff had been intimidated and blackmailed and that he did not anticipate running free and fair elections, Chebukati made a sudden u-turn, like those trucks ferrying miraa and assured the nation all was well, after all. It’s not clear if it’s further intimidation that actuated his change of heart.

Anyway, on the eve of the polls, early this month, he said governors’ polls in Mombasa and Kakamega would be deferred indefinitely, following similar claims of IEBC staff intimidation. I imagined the said staff had been visited by hydra-headed sea monsters wailing, as has been the online chatter: Chebukatineza, mene-mene tekel!

Or that the folks in Kakamega had been terrified by marauding gangs riding on bulls in reverse to reveal those things in the hind quarters that presidential aspirant George Wajackoyah has been seeking in hyenas, ready for export to China.

When the going got tough, this week, Chebukati lifted the embargo on the Mombasa and Kakamega polls. He said they should proceed—just like that. Tinga now says those were calculated, legal manoeuvres to suppress voter turn-out in his strongholds.

But there is more. Tinga claims the foreigners who arrived from Venezuela carrying sensitive electoral materials, side by side with the man’s undies, were part of 56-strong members who had a parallel tallying centre.

Their work was to steal votes from one candidate and boost another’s. They did this by simply deploying a tool that intercepted Forms 34A before they landed in the IEBC portal. After amending the figures, the forms were dumped in the electoral body’s portal. So meticulous was their work, they managed to process some 11,000 forms in a record-breaking eight minutes.

These are some of the riveting details contained in tomes sent to the Supreme Court judges. They do not sound boring as I initially feared; I could possibly go through a good chunk, in a fortnight. And instead of racking my head to invent enticing fiction, perhaps I should just hang around the good old folks at the IEBC, listen to horrible singing from choirs—a magnificent camouflage for monumental theft of election—and the future of our nation.