28 March 2013

Kenya: Uhuru, Ruto Lawyers Say Cord Poll Petition Has No Basis

Lawyers representing Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto as the third and fourth respondents in the ongoing election petition at the Supreme Court had stated that the Cord petition challenging the declaration of the two as president and deputy president-elect in the March 4 polls.

In the last submission session of the petition before the six-judge bench withdraws to deliberate on their ruling expected before or on Saturday at the latest, the lawyers, Fred Ngatia and Katwa Kigen for Uhuru and Ruto respectively, have tackled issues of the voter register and the vote tallying and transmission.

Kigen said that the argument that "the [voter] register must be one is not found in the law." Kigen also said that the interpretation that one must be in a register and one which is electronically generated is also wrong.

Kigen made these remarks in response to allegations by the Cord defence team that in areas where the voter turnout exceeded the registered number of voters, there were people not on the registers that were allowed to vote.

Kigen however contradicted this saying; "The petitioner needed to prove a situation where people who were not registered voted which they haven't." Ngatia who is representing Uhuru Kenyatta cited several instances in which the poll was termed as credible.

Ngatia cited the Elog report which expressed satisfaction that the election outcome was believable. "The EU also held that the integrity of the vote was protected and that the results reflected the will of the voters," Ngatia added.

He also added that COMESA said that the process met regional, continental and international standards of credible and a transparent electoral process. Ngatia in his submission also touched on the voter register.

"What constitutes the principle register would be; the group in the BVR and the special group without biometrics," said Ngatia. Both lawyers said that the second and third petitioners, Africog and Cord respectively, were tasked with proving the irregularities they claimed but that they have failed to do so.

The two asked the Supreme Court to reject the application to have the presidential results nullified and a fresh presidential election declared. The Supreme Court judges are expected to return a ruling on or before Saturday in keeping with the constitutional timeline for a presidential poll petition.

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