Kenya: Presidential Election Facing Legal Petitions Yet Again

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Kenya is on the verge of going back to ballot for a third Presidential election after the Supreme Court on Monday received two petitions to challenge the re-election of Uhuru Kenyatta on October 26. The last month’s election was already a rerun after the Supreme Court annulled Kenyatta’s August 8 win and called for a fresh vote.

The rerun faced multiple challenges including the withdrawal of the opposition candidate Raila Odinga. Raila claimed that he couldn’t participate in an election with predetermined results. The Supreme Court received a petition that accused Raila of electoral offenses in connection with his boycott activities.

On the eve of the October election day, the Supreme Court received yet another petition that wanted to call off the election. However, the case hearing was sabotaged by the absence of enough judges to make a quorum. The opposition blamed on the court for the interference of the activity.

First Petition

John Harun Mwau, a former member of parliament and a renowned businessman, filed the first petition. In his appeal, Mwau called on the Supreme Court to annul the presidential election and call for a fresh poll, again.

The August election faced legal challenges in court due to irregularities and illegalities, as the Justice David Maraga said, and instructed the IEBC to organize a new vote. The decision reached by the the court to nullify the results shocked the whole world and received praises all over, locally and internationally. The globe termed the cancellation as a significant move towards the restoration of the Kenyan democracy.

Harun Mwau argues that the IEBC should have conducted presidential nominations before the rerun. He also contests the participation of a minor candidate, who had already been declared bankrupt.

Second Petition

Khelef Khalifa made similar arguments in the second petition presented in the Supreme Court. Khalifa, the ICJ chairman and the director of Muslims for Human rights claimed that the IEBC chairman Mr. Wafula Chebukati mismanaged the fresh election badly. Khalifa added that due to the mismanagement, the October 26 election couldn’t be termed an election at all.

In his petition, Khalifa cites many occurrences that happened moments before the election. The first of which was the resignation of an IEBC official who claimed that the election couldn’t be credible. She fled to the US moments after her resignation in fear of her life.

Khalifa also reminds Kenyans that hours after the resignation of the official, the IEBC chairman himself, Mr. Wafula Chebukati called a press briefing and announced that he couldn’t guarantee a free and fair election.

The two petitioners are calling on the Supreme Court to subject Kenya to a third election. The already prolonged electoral process has affected the economy of the country due to the uncertainties of the outcome.

shortly after IEBC declared Uhuru Kenyatta winner of the rerun, he acknowledged the fact that his victory might face legal challenges, he however said that he’d adhere to the requirements of the court.