By SAM KIPLAGAT, for Daily Nation, Nairobi
Kenya Chief Justice David Maraga has certified a case seeking to stop Thursday’s presidential poll as urgent.
The CJ also directed the petitioners— Mr Khalef Khalifa, Mr Samuel Mohochi and Mr Gacheke Gachuhi— to file their submissions by Tuesday 6pm.
He also asked the respondents— Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and presidential candidates— to file their responses and submissions by Wednesday morning. The CJ said the case will be heard on Wednesday despite being a public holiday.
The three moved to court arguing that the prevailing environment in the country cannot guarantee a credible poll.
- Raila denies calling demos on poll day
- Case to force Raila to contest flops
- 3 ask Supreme Court to stop poll
- Anti-IEBC demos kick off
Further, the petitioners, through their lawyers John Khaminwa and Harun Ndubi, argue that IEBC commissioners are divided and the commission, cannot guarantee a fair and credible poll.
They claim in the petition that there is a real danger of disenfranchising more than six million voters of a leading candidate who has withdrawn from the race.
To them, Mr Odinga having pulled out of the repeat State House race, the election stands cancelled.
They argue that the gazette notice announcing the new poll date stands vacated after Mr Odinga withdrew.
National Super Alliance (Nasa) candidate Raila Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka pulled out of the election after their demands for reforms at IEBC before the poll were ignored.
The petitioners also claim that IEBC is not prepared for the repeat poll because of constant intimidation and threats directed at its staff.
They also claim there is continued political interference, intimidation, threats and pressure from politicians and protestors, towards IEBC and its employees.
“That there is evidence that establishes real threat that the scheduled fresh election shall not comply with the order of the Supreme Court,” reads part of the application.
There is a risk, they argue, that the poll might not be held in a significant number of counties— thereby plunging Kenyans and their lives into jeopardy.
The Chief Justice has in the meatime allowed judges with urgent petitions related to Thursday’s presidential election to hear them on Wednesday, according to The Kenyan Online news outlet, The Star.
Acting Interior CS Fred Matiang’i declared Wednesday a public holiday, meaning courts and other public offices will be closed.
But Maraga said judges of the Constitutional and Judicial Review Division are free to preside over cases affecting the fresh election.
“The presiding judges have informed me they have matters related to the presidential elections…which they had scheduled to dispose off on October 25,” he said in a letter to the High Court principal judge.
“The judges of the two…divisions have my authority to sit on October 25 to dispose of those matters. He copied Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu and all affected judges. Read: Three voters ask Supreme Court to stop election