Court blow to Uhuru, Ruto
An attempt to delay the case challenging Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto’s presidential bids failed on Friday
- The three-judge bench also blocked a fresh attempt to rope Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi into the case
- The judges dismissed the application, saying the matter was of great public importance and that there was no time for creating side shows intended to derail the petition.
- However, the bench ruled that was not enough basis to halt the determination of the case
An attempt to delay the case challenging Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto’s presidential bids failed on Friday.
The High Court dismissed an application to stop the hearing, paving the way for full trial.
The three-judge bench also blocked a fresh attempt to rope Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi into the case. Read (Activists want Kalonzo and Raila to face integrity case)
The ruling means that Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto are likely to know the fate of their presidential bids before the January 17 deadline set by the electoral commission for parties to have nominated their candidates.
Justices Isaac Lenaola, Mohammed Warsame and Philomena Mwilu had tough words for the two activists who filed the case.
“It is not lost to anyone that this is a matter of great public interest which overrides all other interests. Without reasons given for stay of the proceedings, we are unable to grant the orders sought and consequently dismiss the application,” ruled the judges.
Mr Patrick Njuguna and Mr Charles Omanga, through lawyer Ambrose Weda, wanted the case challenging the suitability of Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto are suitable to run for presidency stopped until an appeal they filed against the striking out of the names of the other presidential candidates is heard.
No time for sideshows
The petitioners had also asked the bench to disqualify itself from handling the case, citing the recent promotions of Justices Warsame and Mwilu to the Court of Appeal.
But the judges dismissed the application, saying the matter was of great public importance and that there was no time for creating side shows intended to derail the petition.
“The petitioners now want to file another application for the bench to recuse itself and yet time is of the essence. We are clear in our minds the matter is of great public importance and we must proceed to hear the main application,” the judges ruled.
The judges said that the petitioners had not provided sufficient proof of any prejudice they are likely to suffer if the proceedings were not stopped.
“This matter was last in court on October 26 and we ordered that it be heard on priority basis. Since then, rather than prepare for the hearing, the petitioners have engaged in evasive actions by filing applications that do not move the main petition towards finalisation.”
Mr Weda argued that striking out the names of the other candidates would make the petition bare and not adequately deal with the issue of leadership and integrity.
The judges, he said, relied unduly on technical issues in discharging the other presidential candidates.
However, the bench ruled that was not enough basis to halt the determination of the case.
“The petitioners are asking for a stay yet they have not even filed the appeal. They have not done the basics even after being directed to serve Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto who are mentioned and directly affected by the application,” said the judges.
They concurred with the Attorney-General who submitted through state counsel Stella Munyi that the application was suspect and intended to derail the hearing of the main application.
“The reasons for disqualification are not convincing since the matter has been pending since it was filed in January. It is time to move forward and make a decision and all parties should file their submissions before the main hearing on November 29,” ruled the judges.
The petition against Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto was filed in January by a group of civil society activists and internally displaced persons seeking a declaration that their candidature is a threat to the Constitution soon after ICC judges ruled they will face trial over crimes against humanity charges.
The petitioners sought an interpretation of Chapter 6 of the Constitution on leadership and integrity claiming that the candidature of Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto would be a recipe for chaos and perpetuate the culture of impunity in the country.
They sought an order to restrain the electoral commission from accepting the nomination of any candidate who had been committed to trial for serious criminal charges under the Kenyan and international law.
However, Mr Njuguna and Mr Omanga made an amendment to include integrity questions about Mr Odinga, Mr Musyoka and Mr Mudavadi, citing allegations of fraud, corruption, abuse of office, nepotism and land grabbing.
They accused the PM of fraudulently acquiring his post-graduate degree in Germany, the VP of inappropriately using his office to acquire radio frequencies for a company owned by his wife and Mr Mudavadi of allegedly misleading the Goldenberg Commission of Inquiry over his role in the scandal.
Meanwhile, Mr Ruto yesterday said he will not quit the race for presidency over Hague cases
Speaking at Kosachei primary school when he registered as a voter, Mr Ruto said that his competitors were engaged in propaganda whose purpose is to ensure that he does not lead the country.
“It is Kenyans who will decide their leaders and not foreigners and they will do so without being manipulated by any foreign powers,” said the Eldoret North MP.