12 October 2017

Kenya: We Might Be Small But Law Rules, Says Aukot

A jubilant Thirdway Alliance presidential candidate Ekuru Aukot on Wednesday said he would hold a meeting with the top party officials, soon after he was allowed to take part in the election.

When the judge declared that his rights had been violated, Dr Aukot said Thirdway Alliance had been underestimated.

"We want to relish this moment, enjoy the opportunity we have been given and assure Kenyans that we shall be on the ballot," Dr Aukot said.

"We believe in our firmness as Thirdway Alliance. They underestimated our smallness. We may be small politically, but if we have the law on our side, justice will reign."

CONCERNS

Dr Aukot added that his party would retreat to make a decision on the next move "as some issues with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission remain pending".

He said his party had concerns about the commission's ability to hold a fair poll even before the August 8 General Election and that "individuals who bungled elections have to be brought to book".

"IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati violated the Constitution by discriminating against me. We will be engaging him in the next 15 days because we have a set of concerns to raise against IEBC and they are out in the open," he said, adding that he would issue a comprehensive statement on the matter later.

Justice John Mativo ruled that Dr Aukot's rights had been infringed on and ordered the electoral commission to immediately issue a new gazette notice or amend the one it released, including Dr Aukot as a presidential candidate.

NOTHING TO BAR

"Having participated and supported the petition that nullified the election, I find nothing to bar Dr Aukot from contesting," the judge said.

He added that the Constitution stipulated that the only candidates for a runoff would be the winner and the runner up in the first round.

Justice Mativo, however, said the Supreme Court decision in the presidential poll petition referred to a fresh election to be held in 60 days from the time of ruling, "implying that those who participated in the invalidated poll can still run".

According to the judge, the period would be inadequate for nominations, hence the inclusion of all candidates would be logical and serve greater public interest.

He described the provision of Article 138 as a situation that called for a runoff while that of the Supreme Court's decision as one for a fresh poll.

CHALLENGED

"These are not hypothetical situations. One should not be imposed on the other," he added.

Dr Aukot had challenged the exclusion of his name in the gazette notice that announced President Kenyatta and Mr Raila Odinga as the only contestants in the rerun.

He sued the IEBC, its chairman, Jubilee and ODM.

As soon as the judgment was read, IEBC and Jubilee asked the court to temporarily suspend its decision.

But as if changing their minds, they also told the judge that they would not over emphasise the request.

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