Supreme Court judges upheld Uhuru victory under duress, claims Raila

Monday November 20 2017

President Uhuru Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s supporters celebrate along Thika Road in Nairobi on November 20, 2017 after the Supreme Court upheld his victory. He will be sworn in next week. PHOTO | RAPHAEL NJOROGE 

By NATION TEAM
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Opposition leader Raila Odinga on Monday claimed the Supreme Court upheld President Uhuru Kenyatta’s election victory under duress even as plans to swear in the Jubilee leader next Tuesday started in earnest.

Mr Odinga, who was reportedly in Tanzania at the time of the Supreme Court ruling, said the Jubilee government was illegitimate and that the opposition’s next course of action will be announced this week.

The court met under severely constrained circumstances, having failed to raise a quorum over serious security concerns following the shooting and wounding of the Deputy Chief Justice’s driver before a crucial pre-October 26 election hearing, his adviser Salim Lone, said in a statement.

“We in Nasa had repeatedly declared before this Supreme Court ruling that we consider this government to be illegitimate and do not recognise it.

"This position has not been changed by the court ruling, which did not come as a surprise.

"It was a decision taken under duress. We do not condemn the court, we sympathise with it,” he said.

SWEARING-IN
As Mr Odinga vowed to push on with his crusade to restore electoral justice, preparations for the swearing-in of President Kenyatta for the second term resumed at the Safaricom Stadium in Kasarani.

A team of top security officials from various departments, including the military held a meeting inside the stadium.

Military rehearsals are expected to start on Tuesday, according to Mr Joseph Irungu, who is chairing the Assumption of Office sub-committee on Security, Logistics and Protocol.

“The committee is picking from where it left before the nullification of the first election.

"We expect about 100,000 visitors and invitations to heads of state have already been sent out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” he said.

BUDGET
A full transition schedule will be released at the end of this week as well as the day’s programme.

“We have less than a week to the ceremony and all the committees will work to ensure that it is held successfully.

"We are also working on a modest budget to finance it. The main dais will seat about 1,600 VVIPs.

"I can assure that we will have no challenges in handling security. Meetings will continue today,” Mr Irungu said.

COMMITTEE
The committee involves officials from the ministries of Interior, Foreign Affairs, Defence, Finance, and ICT.

Also involved in the planning are director-general of the National Intelligence Service, the Inspector General of Police, chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, chief registrar of the Judiciary, the Chief Justice and the secretary to the Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat.

At 10.30am, the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice David Maraga dismissed the two petitions challenging Mr Kenyatta’s October 26 victory, saying they lacked merit.

The petitions were filed by former assistant minister and Kilome MP Harun Mwau, lawyer Njonjo Mue and activist Khelef Khalifa.

“As a consequence, the presidential election of October 26, 2017 is hereby upheld, as is the election of the third respondent (President Kenyatta),” the judges said in a unanimous decision read by Justice Maraga.

PETITIONS

Mr Mwau accused the commission of failing to adhere to the orders of the court.

The former Kilome MP maintained that the election failed to meet the constitutional threshold.

Because of time constraints, the two petitions were consolidated and heard together.

The President, through his lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi, argued that the petitioners had no right to challenge an exercise they were not party to.

ELECTORAL REFORMS
He said the petition was not a public interest litigation but was meant to attract donor funding.

Mr Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka withdrew from the election on October 10, citing lack of commitment to electoral reforms.

According to the two petitions, the October 26 election was marred with illegalities and irregularities, although the claims were dismissed by Mr Kamau Karori and Mr Fred Ngatia, the lawyers for the IEBC and President Kenyatta respectively.

IEBC
Unlike the September 1 judgment, where the court invalidated the poll with a majority of four against two, Monday's decision was unanimous.

The judges will give details of the ruling after 21 days.

The two petitions were filed on November 6, after the IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati declared President Kenyatta the winner of the October 26 poll that was boycotted by his main rival, Mr Odinga of the National Super Alliance.

Mr Kenyatta garnered 7.4 million votes — which was 98.3 per cent of all ballots cast — in a turnout of 38 per cent.

VIOLENCE

Justice Maraga will preside over the swearing-in of President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto on Tuesday next week to start their second term.

Britain, Uganda, Bangladesh and South Sudan, according to a statement from the Presidential Strategic Communication Unit, sent congratulatory messages to President Kenyatta on his re-election.

In Mr Odinga’s political back yard, his supporters came out to protest against the court ruling, resulting in the death of one man said to have been shot in Migori, while a Safaricom booster in Kisumu was vandalised and two vehicles set ablaze.

The demonstrators in Kisumu also burned parts of Kondele Police Station and engaged police in running battles for the better part of the day.

PROTESTS
The shooting happened near a hotel in Migori town as the man crossed the Migori-Tanzania road, which had been blocked by protesters.

The victim, identified only as Mandela, was not involved in the demonstrations, and was said to have been on his personal errands.

In Nairobi, ODM chairman John Mbadi said the initial position of Nasa that there was no election still stands and therefore they will not comment further on the ruling.

“Our position is simple, there was no election on October 26 and therefore, we are continuing with our next plan, which will be communicated this week, just be patient and wait,” the Suba South MP said.

BOYCOTT OF PRODUCTS

The Nation has learnt that more companies are likely to be added to the economic boycott list and that more street demonstrations against Jubilee were in the plan.

The move, according to a source in the opposition, is to push for the formation of a caretaker government to organise for another election in 90 days.

So far, Nasa has told its supporters to boycott products and services from Safaricom, Bidco and Brookside.

The alliance claims the three companies are working closely with Jubilee to frustrate the will of the people at the ballot.

“The Nasa think-team might have a meeting tomorrow before a final way forward is communicated by our party leader,” an opposition MP said, adding that Nasa leaders will not relent in their fight for democracy and against electoral injustice.

Reported by Ibrahim Oruko, Sam Kiplagat, Samwel Owino and Kennedy Kimanthi.