No holiday for courts hearing fresh poll cases

The Supreme Court is this morning scheduled to hear a fresh petition seeking to stop tomorrow’s fresh presidential poll. Chief Justice David Maraga yesterday certified the petition as urgent and directed it to be heard today despite it having been declared a public holiday by Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.

But the urgency of fast-tracking the petition hearing stirred apprehension in Jubilee Party with some Members of Parliament accusing the National Super Alliance (Nasa) leader Raila Odinga of hatching a scheme to derail tomorrow’s election using the petition.

Jubilee Senate Leader of Majority Kipchumba Murkomen claimed Nasa lawyers had met with some top IEBC officials to support the agenda. “We are aware that Nasa has hired civil society organisations who have drafted a petition to stop the election,” he claimed.

This came after Maraga also allowed High Court judges to hear all petitions challenging the election. In a memo to the principal judge of the High Court, Maraga directed the judges hearing the cases to expedite and ensure they dispose of them by today.

“It has come to my notice that tomorrow, has been declared a public holiday. The presiding jugdes of the Constitutional and Judicial Review Division have informed me they have matters related to the presidential elections on October 26 which they had scheduled to dispose on October 25,” the letter stated.

“The judges of the two above mentioned divisions have my authority go sit on October 25 to dispose of those matters.” Another case scheduled to be heard at the Court of Appeal is an application by Haroun Mwau seeking to suspend the poll on ground there was no fresh nomination of candidates, and another application filed by ODM challenging expansion of the list of candidates to participate in the poll.

Maraga certified the matter seeking to stop tomorrow’s election as urgent after some civil rights activists moved to his court seeking to have the election postponed to facilitate fresh nomination of candidates by parties.

Khelef Khalifa, Samwel Mohochi and Gacheke Gachihi, all close allies of activist Maina Kiai, yesterday petitioned the Supreme Court to block IEBC from conducting the repeat exercise and want it conducted within 90 dates in strict conformity with the Constitution and relevant laws.

And speaking after Nasa demos in Nairobi CBD were thwarted by anti-riot police, Siaya Senator James Orengo said: “We will not interrupt the repeat poll but our supporters will not vote. Demos are on until our demands for electoral reforms are met.”

Murkomen claimed that to complete “this illegitimate and malignant scheme”, the Opposition has invested in printing fake pre-marked ballots as well as Forms 34A and 34B.

“These are meant to support their hopeless claims of rigging. Because Raila’s withdrawal had no effect, he has now opted for a new cheap, imaginary and sensational scheme that the election is pre-rigged in favour of President Uhuru Kenyatta,” he added.

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