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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Further petitions challenge President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Two petitions have been filed against the re-election win of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, delaying the intended swearing-in of Kenyatta who was re-elected the head of state in polls on Oct. 26.

Two civil society activists—Njonjo Mue and Khelef Khalifa—moved to court on Monday evening charging that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) did not conduct the fresh election in strict conformity with the Constitution and the applicable laws concerned, and as directed by the Supreme Court on Sept. 1.

They contended that the IEBC and its chairman Wafula Chebukati failed to subject the eight presidential candidates to fresh nominations as per the Constitution and the appliable laws concerned.

"The election conducted by the first and second Respondents on Oct. 26 failed to meet the general principle stipulated under Article 81(d) of the Constitution of Kenya of universal suffrage based on the aspiration for fair representation and equality of vote," one of the petitions reads.

The petitioners said Section 83 of the Elections Act contemplates that where an election is not conducted in accordance with the Constitution and the written law, then that election must be invalidated notwithstanding the fact that the result may not be affected.

They argued that the IEBC fixed the date of the repeat poll on Sept. 5, without consultations and the decision appear to have been influenced or directed by the government.

They also alleged that the Commission failed to meaningfully engage and implement reforms and changes called for by the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA), which would have created a level playing field for all the contestants in the fresh election.

This led to the withdrawal of two other candidates—Raila Odinga and Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka—on Sept. 10.

And contrary to law and legitimate expectation, the petitioners said, the IEBC disregarded the withdrawal of Odinga’s candidature and decided to proceed with the election with his name on the ballot.

They also charged that it was wrong for the Commission to have included presidential candidate Cyrus Jirongo’s name in the ballot without first gazetting his name.

The decision to include Jirongo’s name was disclosed by Commissioner Abdi Guliye in an interview he conducted while on a trip to Dubai on Oct. 18 and was published by print media on Oct. 23.

Guliye admitted that Jirongo had not been gazetted as a candidate on Oct. 25.

"Even so, although the petitioners aver that both the results and the conduct of the election were affected and rendered invalid, the petitioners’ position is that the non-compliance with the Constitution, the written laws and the Rule of Law is sufficient to invalidate the Presidential Election," Mue said in a sworn affidavit.

They argued that without conducting a nomination, there was no basis for the fresh because the process for the election had not been initiated.

Mue said the Commission was operating outside the law and therefore the election should have been rendered invalid from the start.

He said Kenyatta was elected without a nomination certificate, therefore his election is invalid.

Harun Mwau, former assistant minister, has filed a similar petition arguing that the election is void since there was no fresh nominations.

The hearing of the petition is likely to start on Sunday or Monday, depending on the speed at which the respondents file their replies.

According to the timelines, the petitioners have two days to serve the petition to the respondents who are Chebukati and Kenyatta.

The respondents will have four days to file their responses and a pre-trial conference will be heard on the eighth day, followed immediately with the hearing. Judges have only four days to hear and determine the case.

If the two petition cases go through, they might also send Kenyans to yet another fresh presidential election in the next 90 days.

           

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