Judgement Day Nears. Possible Scenarios For Presidential Petition Ruling

The Supreme Court of Kenya. PHOTO|FILE

This is the second presidential petition under the new 2010 Constitution. The verdict of the Supreme Court of Kenya will be to either uphold President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election or invalidate the outcome and lead the country to prepare for another election in 60 days.

Although the opposition coalition, NASA first said they would not go to court to challenge the results of the 2017 General Elections, their stand changed after consultations.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga argued that the presidential election was rigged and presented his case to the court, challenging the electoral body's (IEBC) declaration of President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election with 54% of the vote.

After sporadic violence in areas that are Mr. Odinga' strongholds after the declaration, the country resumed to an uneasy calm after their decision to go to court. Addressing the press, Mr. Odinga said that they were going to prove their case to the court and that the election results would be overturned.

On Tuesday, 29 August the court received reports from its own registrar and a team of court appointed experts who assessed allegations of malpractice and rigging.

In his final submission James Orengo, a NASA official and lawyer said the reports told "a very, very sad story" of irregularities, pointing to a number of unsigned tally forms and others lacking security features, that he said could affect as many as five million votes.

In his final submission Paul Muite, an IEBC lawyer said that the petitioner had not presented a single case where "figures were altered." He added that there is no law that specifies the forms for tallying presidential ballots must have security features.

Fred Ngatia, one of the attorneys for President Kenyatta, urged the court to dismiss the challenge, saying there was no difference in the votes announced at the tallying center with those from the polling stations. He said that showed Kenyatta's win was legitimate, he said.

As the nation waits with bated breath, here are the possible scenarios that will unfold;

Scenario 1: Supreme Court Dismisses the Petition, Upholds and Validates the Elections
a. Jubilations by the Jubilee side particularly in its strongholds, including Nairobi.
b. Street demonstrations/civil unrests especially in Nasa strongholds in protest of the Supreme Court decision.

Scenario 2: Supreme Court Annuls/Invalidates the Elections
a. Jubilations predominantly in the Nasa Coalition strongholds, including Nairobi.
b. Street demonstrations/civil disorders especially in Jubilee strongholds in protest of the Supreme Court decision.

It is to be noted that Scenario 2 will lead to a repeat of the Presidential elections and subject the country back to the polls.
The judges can also order for a  re-tallying of the results.

The decision to invalidate elections, legal experts warn, will spark off a Pandora’s box of petitions of other elective positions. If the petition is sustained, there is a possibility that any other petition that would be filed would rely on the decision of the Supreme Court and if the facts would be the same, irregularities the same then very many petitions will succeed.

Uhuru Kenyatta would have been sworn in on August 29 – exactly the first Tuesday after the expiry of the 14th day after the declaration – had there been no election petition.

If the Supreme Court upholds his win, this would now pushes the inauguration party earliest on September 12. The maximum deadline to dispense the petition allowed by the law falls on September 1. The law gives another seven days for the swearing-in, which falls on September 8.

The ceremony will however be held on September 12, being the first Tuesday after the expiry of the seventh day.

If on September 1, the judges nullify the Presidential results, then the IEBC will have 60 days to organize for another presidential election and this will see the country going to the polls to elect the President on November 1.

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