Nairobi News


Presidential petitions: Milimani Law Courts to be closed for 11 days

Milimani Law Courts have been closed for 11 days with effect from Friday, August 26, to pave way for the hearing of presidential election petitions to take place – the Judiciary has said.

All eyes will be focused on the seven judges of the Supreme Court, who have until September 5, 2022 to hear and determine what is the country’s biggest case in any election cycle, whether or not the president-elect was validly elected.

The judges include, Chief Justice Martha Koome, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, Justices Mohammed K Ibrahim, Njoki Ndung’u, Dr Smokin Wanjala, William Ouko, and Isaac Lenaola.

The closure directive comes as the law courts premise is currently hosting the Supreme Court which is expected to hear and determine the several presidential petitions lodged on Monday challenging William Ruto’s win as President-elect.

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On Monday, security was beefed up at the Law Courts, where physical petitions on the presidential election results were received.

Traffic police have cordoned off a section of the road leading into the court premises.

A section of Azimio La Umoja One Kenya supporters began to gather in anticipation of their Presidential Candidate who is among those challenging the declaration of his competitor Dr Ruto as the president-elect.

The hearing of the nine petitions lodged with the top court will take place at Milimani Law Court Ceremonial Hall, unlike the previous petitions where the legal proceedings happened at the Supreme Court Building.

In a notice, the Judiciary said that during the 11 days’ period, urgent matters shall be dealt with on the online platforms.

“All advocates, prosecuting counsels, clients, national police service, and the prison service take note that Milimani Chief Magistrate Courts and Traffic Court will not be physically accessible due to the hearing of the Presidential Election Petitions from August 26 to September 5, 2022,” the notice reads in part.

“Take further notice that all fresh pleas and certificates of urgency will be filed and handled at City Court. All matters scheduled for this period will be mentioned virtually for directions by the respective courts during the period.”

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Those challenging the elections include, Azimio la Umoja-One party leader Mr Odinga and his running Martha Karua, Activists Okiya Omtatah and Khelef Khalifa, David Kairuki Ngari, Youth Advocacy Africa (YAA), John Njoroge Kamau, Julia H Chege and gospel singer Rueben Kigame clearly setting the stage for a major legal duel at the apex court.

The eight petitions lodged with the country’s top court are all seeking the invalidation of Dr Ruto’s election and a repeat of a fresh presidential election in accordance with the constitution and Elections Act among other orders from the Supreme Court.

However, in the ninth petition by Chama Cha Kazi party leader Moses Kuria and outgoing Mbeere South MP Geoffrey King’ang’i, they are seeking dismissal of the suit lodged by Raila Odinga and Martha Karua over alleged election malpractices.

In their petition, the Azimio la Umoja-One party duo allege that the final results announced by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati on August 15 were invalid and not complete, adding that there were gross disparities in results captured by electronic kits and physical forms.

The petition also alleged that Chebukati refused to share and circulate the final presidential results with aspirants’ chief agents, observers, media, and some members of the electoral agency before announcing them publicly.

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According to Mr Odinga, there were inconsistencies in voter turnout as captured by Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMS) kits and those captured manually.

He said that the digital kits captured 14.45 million voters, representing 65.4 percent of the registered total, but in the final results captured in the recorded forms, the total number of voters stood at 14.2 million.

Mr Odinga and his allies said that the IEBC was unable to account for more than 250,000 votes that were cast in the polls, excluding votes captured manually.

In their ruling, judges of the Supreme Court could either uphold Ruto’s victory, order a recount, or nullify the results and order a repeat presidential election after 60 days.

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