Chief Justice David Maraga has directed the High Court and the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal to finalise all disputes stemming from party nominations within six days.
The CJ issued the directive as the High Court sealed the political fate of Gem MP and National Assembly Minority Leader Jakoyo Midiwo, declaring his rival, Mr Elisha Odhiambo, as ODM’s nominee for the seat.
Justice Aggrey Muchelule ruled that an appeal filed by Mr Odhiambo against the tribunal’s directive that ODM appoints a candidate after cancelling the aspirant’s win, had been overtaken by events when he (Odhiambo) was handed the certificate.
But the judge ordered Mr Odhiambo to pay the costs of his appeal.
Mr Odhiambo had moved to the High Court after the tribunal last week declined to declare him the winner and instead ordered ODM to cancel his certificate and nominate a candidate internally, giving the outspoken MP a lifeline. The tribunal had observed that the nominations were shambolic, as claimed by Mr Midiwo.
On Thursday, the High Court also directed Jubilee Party to hand the nomination certificate for Gilgil constituency to nominated Senator Martha Wangari. Her rival, incumbent MP Nderitu Mathenge, had filed a case in court after losing his plea at the tribunal. The MP wanted the youthful nominee’s win cancelled, citing massive irregularities. Justice Stella Mutuku ruled that massive rigging had occurred in Mr Mathenge’s strongholds and that a report had been made to the police.
In an impromptu visit to Milimani Law Courts on Thursday evening, CJ Maraga told judges and the tribunal that further delay in determining the disputes would interfere with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s (IEBC) preparations for the August 8 General Election.
“Finish determining these disputes by Friday next week so that we don’t interfere with IEBC’s preparation,” CJ Maraga told tribunal chairman Kyalo Mbobu.
The CJ said he had appointed four new judges to assist in hearing appeals arising from the tribunal’s decisions.
“I appreciate that for the past three weeks, you have been working odd hours to ensure that petitioners get justice in their complaints,” the CJ said during a brief session with the seven tribunal members.
CJ Maraga told Mr Mbobu to compile a list of all the disputes handled and forward them to him in five days. The CJ said he had held talks with IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati and they had agreed that all disputes arising from the primaries should be concluded as soon as possible so that the electoral commission can print ballot papers.
“Some aspirants want to keep their disputes up to June 7, the last day when all disputes pertaining to nominations should be determined. But when will Mr Chebukati finalise his duty of preparing for the elections?” asked the CJ.
Mr Mbobu told the CJ that by today, all the disputes filed by May 14 will be concluded adding, “we have received fresh matters and we shall finish them by next week”.