All eyes are on the Chief Justice Martha Koome-led Supreme Court in Kenya as it prepares to hear the petition filed by the Azimio la Umoja coalition Presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his running mate Martha Karua. The Supreme Court admitted the petition on Monday, August 22.
The duo wants the election of William Ruto as President as declared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) invalidated. Ruto was named President-elect after garnering 50.49% of the vote, or a total of 7,176,141 votes against Odinga’s 6,942,930 votes representing 48.5% of the vote.
Azimio has however accused IEBC and its chairman Wafula Chebukati, in particular, of deliberately manipulating the results of the election. Should the results be nullified by the Supreme Court, it would be the second time the apex court has done so since Odinga’s 2022 petition saw Uhuru Kenyatta’s win nullified in a historic decision.
Odinga and Karua are seeking 23 reliefs including an order for inspection of IEBC servers and scrutiny of the rejected and spoilt votes. Odinga has reiterated that he is committed to unearthing evidence of the activities they believe compromised the elections.
Odinga, Ruto and the IEBC have all lined up high-powered attorneys to represent them at the Supreme Court. Odinga’s team includes newly-elected Siaya Governor, Senior Counsel James Orengo, as well as former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Philip Murgor and veteran Constitutional lawyer Pheroze Nowrojee.
Ruto’s legal team on the other hand includes Fred Ngatia and Ahmednassir Abdullahi, both of whom represented President Uhuru Kenyatta in his 2017 Petition at the Supreme Court.
The IEBC has retained former Attorney-General Githu Muigai to lead a team of attorneys.
Odinga wants IEBC to be compelled to organize a fresh presidential election in strict conformity with the Constitution and Elections Act. Importantly, Azimio does not want the fresh election to be presided over by Chebukati.
Four IEBC commissioners had distanced themselves from results announced by Chebukati moments before he declared Ruto President-elect, as they claimed that the final stages of the results verification process were opaque. It remains unclear whether they will file supporting affidavits in Odinga’s petition.
Among other orders he is seeking, Odinga also wants an order for scrutiny and forensic audit of the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (Kiems) kits, the IEBC portal and the presidential election forms including Forms 34A, 34B and 34C.