Kenyans will on Friday be eagerly awaiting the verdict of the Supreme Court on whether President Uhuru Kenyatta’s win in the August 8 elections was valid.
Although they did not indicate what time they will deliver their decision, the justices, led by Chief Justice David Maraga, said they will notify lawyers and the public on the time.
But Mr Maraga, as a Seventh-day Adventist adherent and also president of the court, will ensure that the decision is made before sunset, when Sabbath starts.
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Wafula Chebukati declared President Kenyatta winner of the election on August 11, announcing that the incumbent had garnered 8,223,163 against his closest rival Raila Odinga’s 6,822,812.
The judges can dismiss the petition altogether, meaning that President Kenyatta would be deemed duly elected, or they can declare the poll invalid, sending Kenyans back to the ballot in two months.
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The rejected votes will play a key role in deciding whether President Kenyatta met the threshold of 50 per cent plus one vote.
However, Mr Odinga, of the National Super Alliance, contests the win, arguing that the poll was marred by massive irregularities and inconsistencies.
He says there were “grave inaccuracies” that were either as a result of negligence by, or the willful intention of, the IEBC.
The Nasa leader argues that the poll agency adopted “a consistent pattern of increasing” President Kenyatta’s figures but reducing his votes.
Among the issues the seven judges will be grappling with are whether there were irregularities in the poll and, if so, whether they were massive enough to annul the results.
In his submissions in court, Attorney-General Githu Muigai said that “the threshold required to disturb the election is such that the evidence has to disclose profound irregularities in the management of the electoral process”.
Whereas President Kenyatta, through lawyers Ahmednasir Abdullahi and Fred Ngatia, says that a voter should not be punished for the mistakes of poll officials, Mr Odinga argues that the process should have been “clean”.
Mr Abdullahi said that in 99 per cent of the cases, the court can only invalidate a presidential election on the transgressions of the voter.
He added that were the petition to succeed, the court would have to find that the 15 million Kenyans who voted on August 8 do not count.
The issue of rejected votes was brought back to court once again as Mr Odinga pleaded with the court to revisit the matter. During the 2013 election petition, it was argued that a ballot paper once rejected, or declared void by law, is incapable of expressing any preference for or against a candidate.
The rejected vote is, therefore, invalid and cannot be introduced into the percentage-vote tallying process.
Arguing for the dismissal of this prayer, Mr Ngatia said nothing had changed to convince the court to overturn the 2013 judgment.
“Rejected votes cannot be taken into account in the final tally. It is a point we argued in 2013 and nothing has changed to make us depart from it. There should be uniformity in the judgments of the court,” Mr Ngatia said.
Another matter the judges will be grappling with is the different sets of results and disparities in votes between presidential, gubernatorial and senatorial seats
Mr Odinga, through his lawyers, submitted in court that the IEBC released five sets of rejected votes, casting doubts on the validity of the final outcome of the presidential result.
Although the electoral body termed the numbers “mere statistics”, Mr Otiende Amollo, for Nasa, said it cannot be true, arguing that the results in all the platforms should be similar.
The judges will also be deciding whether to depart from the 2013 decision on the interpretation of the Constitution.
Nasa also claimed that scrutiny of the results forms revealed irregularities, with a number of them not bearing the commission’s stamp or watermarks, or were unsigned or missing serial marks.
In the 2013 presidential petition, the Supreme Court dismissed the case, saying the evidence brought before them failed to prove the alleged irregularities.
IRONY: CNN Publishes Larry Madowo’s article after “Daily Nation’ rejects it
Celebrated NTV news anchor Larry Madowo was on Wednesday dealt a major blow by his employer Nation Media Group (NMG), days after his controversial opinion piece on Interior and Coordination Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.
In a tweet, Mr. Madowo disclosed that the Daily Nation, a paper published by the Aga Khan-owned media house, refused to publish his opinion piece on his FrontRow column.
The outspoken journalist noted that it was the first time in nearly four years that such a thing happened during his employment at NMG.
“This week, the @dailynation refused to print my column for the first time in nearly 4 years,” he tweeted.
Though the Daily Nation refused to publish Madowo’s Wednesday opinion piece titled: Why it’s a perilous time to be a journalist in Kenya, International Media company CNN took up the article and published it.
“The irony aside, the same piece is now published on CNN,” he said.
In the piece, Madowo speaks of how he spent the night at his office after plain clothed police officers camped outside NMG’s building along Kimathi street with the intention of arresting him NTV Managing Editor Linus Kaikai and anchor Ken Mijungu.
The trio was being hunted down by police for refusing to adhere to Government’s order not to broadcast the controversial swearing-in of NASA leader Raila Odinga as the People’s President.
“They had orders to arrest my colleagues Linus Kaikai who also chairs the Editors Guild, reporter Ken Mijungu and myself without a warrant which would have set a dangerous precedent.
“The next day, we had to sneak out into a safe house as our lawyers battled to keep us from getting detained,” Madowo mentions in his piece.
Before Odinga’s oath-taking Madowo entered into a scuffle with his bosses over media independence during an official meeting.
The NTV news anchor was particularly agitated that the company had not taken any meaningful action to protect Justus Wanga – a Nation reporter who faced threats from Deputy President William Ruto’s press secretary David Mugonyi.
A source privy to the details of the meeting told Pulselive.co.ke that the management was considering scrapping Madowo’s column from the Daily Nation.
Read the full article here courtesy of CNN
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VIDEO: AU summit ends in Addis amid claims of bugging by the Chinese
The 30th AU summit wound up Monday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia after 8 days of deliberations on a myriad of topics.
Meanwhile, China has dismissed reports it bugged the African Union (AU) headquarters as “preposterous”.
Kuang Weilin, the Chinese ambassador to the AU, told reporters in Ethiopia the “absurd” claim in France’s Le Monde was “very difficult to understand”.
He spoke out three days after the newspaper published an article claiming data from the Chinese-built AU building was being copied to Shanghai.
The article said the discovery resulted in all the AU servers being switched.
Le Monde spoke to a number of anonymous sources, who claimed the alleged transfer was taking place late at night [link in French], and was only spotted in January 2017 due to the spike in activity between midnight and 02:00, despite no-one being in the building.
It was suggested the alleged data transfer had been taking place since 2012, when the building, in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, was opened.
Officials also brought in security experts from Algeria to sweep the entire headquarters for potential bugs, the newspaper said, leading to the discovery of microphones in desks.
But Mr Kuang – who hailed the headquarters as a “monument” to his country’s relationship with the continent – said it was entirely untrue.
“I really question its intention,” he told reporters on Monday. “I think it will undermine and send a very negative message to people. I think it is not good for the image of the newspaper itself.
“Certainly, it will create problems for China-Africa relations.”
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