SECTIONS

Supreme battle: Apex Court sets out plan for hearing petition

Supreme Court judges led by Chief Justice Martha Koome during BBI ruling at Supreme Court in Nairobi on, March 31 2022. [David Njaaga, Standard]

All eyes will today shift to the Supreme Court as the hearing of the Presidential election petition challenging the victory of the Deputy President William Ruto begins.

The court battle pitting Raila Odinga against DP Ruto will start at 11 am at Milimani Law Courts with a pre-trial conference.

In the suit at the Supreme Court, Raila is the first petitioner while Martha Karua, his running mate, is the second petitioner.

According to the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi, all arrangements have been completed.

The petition will proceed to a full hearing as of tomorrow (Wednesday) and the verdict is expected to be out on September 5.

“Tomorrow’s pretrial session will be held at the Milimani Law Courts ceremonial hall. As you can remember, the last two petitions were held at the Supreme Court chambers, but due to the limited space, we decided to shift the hearings to Milimani Law Courts,” said Ms Amadi

Ms Amadi said that all the seven Supreme Court judges will participate in the 2022 presidential petition unlike in 2017 when the bench consisted of only six judges led by Chief Justice Emeritus David Maraga.

The judges are Chief Justice Martha Koome, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, Dr Smokin Wanjala, William Ouko, Isaac Lenaola, Ibrahim Mohamed and Njoki Ndung’u, who will hear the petition and determine whether the August 9 presidential election was credible.

“We have so far received nine petitions challenging the outcome of the presidential election. By Saturday, all the respondents had put in their responses and by Sunday evening, the petitioners had filed their rejoinders,” said Amadi.

She went on: “We have also received at least 20 interlocutory applications. Some are seeking to strike out the petition, others want to be included as interested parties in the petition while others want to be included as amicus curia (friends of the court) in the case. By 11 am tomorrow before the pretrial conference, all the rulings on interlocutory applications will be delivered to respective parties electronically,”

According to the Chief Registrar, there will be eleven observer judges from the commonwealth countries, who are already in the country to follow the proceedings of the petition.

She said the judges are led by the retired Chief Justice of Tanzania Mohammed Othman, Justice Ivy Kamanga from the Malawi Court of Appeal and Justice Moses Chinhengo from the Lesotho Supreme Court of Appeal.

Others are Justice Lilian Tibatemwa Ekirikubinza of the Supreme Court of Uganda and Justice Henry Boissie Mbha, President of the Electoral Court of South Africa among others.

“In the courtroom, we shall have four lawyers from every team, eight law clerks, all parties participating in the case and the entire legal team from the Chief Justice. We are minimizing the number of the people who will be in the courtroom because of limited space,” said Amadi

She added: “The rest of the people can watch the proceedings from the comfort of their homes since we have allowed the media to broadcast the sessions live because we don’t want to run into problems with crowd management during the proceedings.”

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati declared William Ruto on August 15 as president-elect after garnering 7.17million against his close rival Raila Odinga who got 6.94million votes.

However, four IEBC commissioners led by Vice Chairperson Juliana Cherera, Justus Nyang’aya, Francis Wanderi, Irene Masit disowned the results saying that Chebukati proceeded to announce the presidential results despite conflicting figures in some forms 34A and 34B.

In her damning affidavit, Ms Cherera says that her boss, Chebukati, announced results that had not been fully verified and certified by all the seven IEBC commissioners.