Okiyah Omtatah challenges IEBC directive in court

Thursday August 3 2017

Busia Ford Kenya senatorial candidate Okiyah

Busia Ford Kenya senatorial candidate Okiyah Omtatah (right) at the Bungoma High Court on August 3, 2017. PHOTO | TITUS OTEBA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By TITUS OTEBA
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Busia Senatorial candidate Okiyah Omtatah on Thursday challenged the IEBC’s directive to members of the public to stay away for at least 400 metres from polling centres.

He sued IEBC and the Attorney General terming the directive unconstitutional at the Bungoma High Court.

However, Lady Justice Abida Ali Aroni ordered the case be heard and disposed at the High Court in Nairobi Friday because of public interest.

“I do hereby order that the petition be heard in Nairobi high court after the petitioner serving the polls body and the office of the AG electronically because the petition was filed late on August 31, 2017,” she said.

Justice Aroni said that she could not proceed with the case because the respondents had not been served.

UNLAWFUL

In his petition, Mr Omtatah says that it is unconstitutional to evict citizens from polling centres during the voting saying it violated their rights.

“Article 86 of the constitution requires that the elections be transparent, the elections cannot be transparent when people are barred from participating in the counting and tallying of votes and announcing of results,” reads the petition.

He says that the imposition of a 400 metres wide security cordon around polling centres will undermine the rights of members of the public whose homes or residences fall within the restricted areas.

“Kenyans have a legitimate expectation that they will vote, wait for results and then go home after the exercise but the order by IEBC will deny them this,” reads the petition.

Mr Omtatah said that his home is a few meters from the Kwang’amor Primary School polling station in Teso South constituency and it will be unreasonable to expect him and members of his family to stay outside the 400 metres radius.

Justice Aroni directed Omtatah to serve the IEBC office and then transmit the same petition electronically to IEBC headquarters in Nairobi so that they may appear in court this morning.