A status conference in the petition filed by Raila Odinga of the Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD), challenging the declaration of Uhuru Kenyatta as president-elect will take place on Monday.
Supreme Court Registrar Esther Nyaiyaki told Capital FM News the conference will also address matters pertaining to two other petitions; one by the African Centre for Governance (AFRICOG) and another by voters Dennis Itumbi, Moses Kuria and Florence Sergon seeking a decision on the validity of rejected ballots in determining the final presidential tally.
“The status conference will kick off at 10 in the morning and the issues which will be addressed are those outlined in the Supreme Court Presidential Election Petition Rules 2013,” she said in an interview on Sunday.
Rule 10 states: “The court shall, at the pre-trial conference give directions in regard to the joinder, substitution, addition or striking out of any party to the petition,” and therefore Attorney General Githu Muigai’s application to be enjoined as a friend of the court is one of the issues which will be determined on Monday.
Muigai filed an application to be enjoined as amicus curiae last week and the acceptance of his application would allow him to bring to the attention of the court provisions of the law he may find were overlooked in the course of the hearing of the petitions.
During the pre-trial conference, the applicants’ lawyers will be required to notify the court how long their submissions will take; how many witnesses they intend to call, if these will include expert witnesses, and the nature of their evidence – whether it will be documentary, audio-visual or both.
The respondents who include the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), chairman Issack Hassan, President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto, will be required to outline similar requirements. “This is done in order so that the court is able to manage its time,” Nyaiyaki explained.
The petition rules also allow the court to requisition any additional documentation it may require including documents from the IEBC. “The court shall, at the pre-trial, conference notify the commission to furnish it with all the relevant election documents relating to the petition before commencement of the hearing.”
The court will also frame what the contested and uncontested issues are and it is at its discretion to consolidate the various petitions “allowing for an expeditious disposal of the petition or any outstanding issues,” the rules state.
Thereafter, the court has two days within which to begin hearing the petitions and according to Article 140 (2) of the Constitution, the Supreme Court has until Saturday March 30 to give a verdict in PM Odinga’s petition given it was filed on Saturday 16. It’s decision cannot be appealed.
“Within fourteen days after the filing of a petition under clause (1), the Supreme Court shall hear and determine the petition and its decision shall be final.”