Kenya: Decision to Announce President-Elect Must Be Collegial – Zehrabanu

Nairobi — Zehrabanu Janmohammed, the lawyer representing, John Njoroge, the second petitioner in the presidential petition against President-Elect William Ruto’s win now says that it was not envisaged in the Constitution that the IEBC Chairperson shall act alone in the tallying and verification of votes in the election process.

In a rejoinder, Janmohammed said all commissioners are appointed through a similar rigorous process, and as such all have an equal role in electoral decisions.

By leaving out the four commissioners, Janmohammed argued that IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati treated the whole process as a one-man-show in contravention of Article 138 (3) (c) of the Constitution provides that “after counting the votes in the polling stations, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission shall tally and verify the count and declare the result” in relation to the presidential elections.

She argued that the failure by Chebukati to involve all the Commissioners in the entire process warrants the nullification of the final presidential election result.

In relation to presidential elections, the Constitution, in Article 138 (3) (c), provides that “after counting the votes in the polling stations, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission shall tally and verify the count and declare the result.”

“With due respect, all those Commissioners are appointed not at the same time but go through the same rigorous process. Does it mean all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others which means the Chairman (Chebukati) is more equal than anybody else?” she posed

“That this are just flower girls and page boys, that surely could not have been the intention of people who drafted this constitution,” she added.

She dismissed the notion that the court’s hands are tied regarding the punishment of state officers who have broken the law, saying it has the capacity to act.

“Where it is established that a State Officer is subverting the Constitution and the rule of law, the court’s hands are not shackled by procedural niceties. This is the beauty of this Wanjiku constitution that we have. It is transformative,” she said.

Janmohammed called on the Supreme court judges to take action against such individuals without any hesitation.

“Please Madam Chief Justice and Honorable Judges of this court, bite and bite for the glory of this court,” she added.

She further questioned the decision by the electoral agency to stop projecting the results on the IEBC screens at the National Tallying Centre in Bomas adding that they are yet to get any satisfactory explanation over the decision.

“We were told by the umpire, ‘get over it’. We were told by one of the protagonists, ‘move on’. If there has been a breach of the Constitution, do we just move on? Forget the transgressions and just move on,” she asked.

In her original submissions, Janmohammed further requested that IEBC Chairman be prohibited from conducting any election or holding any public office, for breaching Chapter Six of the Constitution.

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