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Supreme Court ruling set stage for elections nullification

By Roselyne Obala and Geoffrey Mosoku | September 19th 2017 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior addressing journalists outside Makueni constituency tallying centre-Makueni Boys.  [Photo: Stephen Nzioka/Standard]

The Supreme Court judges’ majority ruling to void the August 8 presidential election results will have a direct impact on a record 338 election petitions filed in the High Court and magistrates’ courts.

Experts and lawyers told The Standard, the Supreme Court has set a precedent that will be binding to the subordinate courts and the cases could be based more on the process, not figures.

Applications for the remaining five elective positions - governor, senator, woman representative, MP and MCA - cite a number of irregularities and illegalities, which are the basis of the presidential petition. The court battles will also rekindle sibling rivalry between NASA and Jubilee Party.

“The court’s ruling will affect some of the cases where the law was significantly ignored. Let me restate that this historic ruling is likely to affect petitions where there are irregularities that affect the outcome,” said Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo.

Significant disregard

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“There will be implications where there was significant disregard of the Constitution, the Elections Act and the regulations. More important, wherever the Independent Election and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) disregards orders of scrutiny, the court will draw an adverse reference most likely resulting in invalidation.” Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr (Makueni), constitutional lawyer Bobi Mkangi, political analyst Philip Chebunet and former Nyeri Woman Representative Priscilla Nyokabi are all in agreement that the courts will be bound by the judgement by Chief Justice David Maraga’s bench.

Ms Nyokabi however implored individual judges handling petitions to do so based on merit for the sake of national stability.

“It is their duty to save the country from having a by-elections problem. The judges should take into consideration the cost implications in determining individual cases. If we annul many elections, it will be almost as if we didn’t hold elections.,” she said.

Mr Kilonzo said there would be far-reaching consequences on all pending petitions.

“The election courts will not hesitate to nullify any election that did not meet the necessary threshold of accuracy, verifiability and simplicity. The country should prepare for several by-elections.”


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