By Judith Gicobi
The presidential election petition timeframes were announced by Chief Justice Martha Koome on Sunday, August 7, as the Supreme Court prepares to hear any cases that might arise following the election, which is scheduled for Tuesday, August 9.
When the official results are announced, presidential candidates will have just seven days to file a petition contesting the election, according to Koome.
The 2017 Supreme Court presidential election petition Rules and the present constitution both stipulate a seven-day time limit.
The rules outline the petition’s contents, including the name and address of the petitioner, the date the election in question was held, the date the results were announced, and the basis on which the petition is being presented.
The petitioner has 24 hours to serve the parties in the matter after filing the petition. The petitioner will also be required to serve the respondents in the case with the petition within six hours of filing it, either electronically, through publications with national distribution, or by handing it to the respondents.
The Supreme Court’s president further ordered that after serving the parties, they will have four days to file their reply. They may be accompanied by answering affidavits outlining the specifics of the relied-upon evidence, which may be signed by the respondents and any relevant witnesses.
The Supreme Court presidential election petition guidelines, which were published in 2017, require that if the parties ask for specific orders in the case, they must do so within 24 hours of the date on which they file a response to the petition.
Therefore, petitioners have 24 hours to submit their requests for the orders. The requests, often referred to as interlocutory applications, need to be approved by the court in order to ensure a fair trial.
One day after the petitioner’s response is filed, third parties or friends of the court must also submit and serve an application.
According to Koome’s notification of the timeframes, a pre-trial meeting will take place eight days from the petition filing date.
Following the pre-trial session, the petition hearing officially begins right away.
In accordance with the constitutional obligation intended to ensure that such petitions are resolved in due time, the Supreme Court will make a decision about the petition within 14 days from the date of filing.