Kenya: Grandmullah Opts Out of Ruto Defense Team Because He Represented Kenyatta in 2017

Nairobi — Senior Counsel Ahmednasir Abdullahi, popularly known as Grandmullah among his peers, now says he will not be representing President-Elect William Ruto in any petition filed to nullify his victory due to conflicting interests.

He said he fears outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta might raise objections citing client-advocate privilege because he was on his side when Raila Odinga successfully challenged his victory.

“In 2017, I acted for Uhuru against Raila. Now that Raila is challenging Ruto’s victory, obviously, Uhuru will object and raise clients-Advocate privilege,” he stated.

Ruto was declared president-elect on Monday, scraping past Odinga with a margin of less than two percentage points, after an anxious days-long wait for results which Odinga has vowed to challenge in the Supreme Court in a filing Monday.

The outcome has been challenged not only by Odinga’s camp but also, in a bizarre twist, by four out of seven commissioners at the election body that oversaw the vote.

“We want to see justice done so that peace can be found,” 77-year-old Odinga said at his Nairobi home after a meeting with religious leaders.

And as Odinga or any other petitioner plan to file a case to challenge Ruto’s victory, Grandmullah has offered to update Kenyans on his Twitter account, including predicting the petition outcome.

“I will run a Twitter commentary on the Supreme Court petition that will be filed by Hon Raila. I will appraise the strength and weaknesses of the case, the responses by the respondents, and jurisprudential clue we should look from the 7 judges. I will predict the decision.” the city lawyer stated on his Twitter.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati announced Ruto as president-elect last Monday despite four IEBC commissioners hastily distancing themselves from the results.

“We have decided to use the law to go before the Supreme Court and table our evidence to show that it was not an election but a joke,” Raila said.

The veteran opposition leader has now been defeated in all five presidential votes he has contested, even though this year he ran with the backing of outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta and the weight of the ruling party behind him.

No presidential poll outcome has gone uncontested in Kenya since 2002, and the disputes have led to bloodshed in the past.

In August 2017, the Supreme Court annulled the election after Odinga rejected Kenyatta’s victory. Dozens of people were killed by police in post-poll protests.

The aftermath of this year’s court decision is being keenly watched as a test of democratic maturity in East Africa’s richest economy.

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