16 November 2017

Kenya: Githu 'Proposal' for a Medal to Laud IEBC Rubs Lawyer Wrong Way

If it were up to the Attorney-General, Prof Githu Muigai, the electoral commission would have been awarded a medal for its conduct of the repeat presidential election as ordered by the Supreme Court on September 1.

That was the summation of Prof Muigai in his submissions to the apex court, where he had been enjoined as an interested party in the petition whose hearing ended last evening.

The AG said the poll agency had done a stellar job in the face of a relentless onslaught from the National Super Alliance, even after its presidential candidate, Mr Raila Odinga, withdrew from the race.

JUDGES

"From everything that is here in front of you," he told the six judges, "There is no evidence, no law, no reason that is in front of you, that would allow you to upset this election."

Prof Muigai said annulling the October 26 election would amount to rewarding those who he described as having been out to sabotage the Constitution.

"The judicial process has been converted into another political battleground. That has to stop. IEBC must be awarded a medal," he said.

The AG's effusive praise of the IEBC rubbed some lawyers the wrong way and it was not long after when Mr Benjamin Musyoki, the lead lawyer for petitioner Harun Mwau, interrupted him.

"As far as I recollect, his application as an amicus was not allowed and the Attorney-General was allowed to come as an interested party in petition number four," said Mr Musyoki, as he stated that Prof Muigai (below) was sounding more like an advocate for the IEBC.

REPEAT POLL

The AG could barely disguise his annoyance at the interruption and as he turned to the judges suggested that a learned friend like him would in future not appear before the apex court.

Prof Githu noted that they were contemplating rules to put a threshold of some years before an advocate can appear before the Supreme Court.

He characterised the petition as an extension of the cases that have bedevilled the IEBC over the past 18 months.

Referring to other lawyers in the court, the Attorney-General said: "I have been in this court these past one and a half years. Some of them have been also with me, some of them wearing different hats but not changing their colours."

Mr Elias Mutuma, Dr Ekuru Aukot's lawyer, said the nomination of candidates for the repeat poll had been dealt with by the High Court and was in any case the subject of an appeal at the Court of Appeal.

He argued that had Mr Raila Odinga's withdrawal been accepted by the IEBC, Dr Aukot's right to participate in the election would not have been affected.

He also asked the court to examine a report submitted by Dr Aukot showing how the IEBC had sealed the identified loopholes.

Kenya

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