, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 11 – The Supreme Court has denied orchestrating a delay in the determination of the Wajir gubernatorial petition, promising to issue its ruling by February 21.
In an apparent response to an article published on the Sunday Nation, the apex court said on Monday it was within the 90-day timeline within which a ruling must be rendered in accordance with Rule 20 (1) of the Supreme Court Rules having commenced the hearing of the petition on November 21.
A seven-member bench comprising Chief Justice David Maraga, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, Justices Jackton Ojwang’, Mohammed Ibrahim, Njoki Ndung’u, Smokin Wanjala, and Isaac Lenaola had been accused of dragging the case, a group of petitioners from Wajir once writing to the CJ accusing one of the judges of corrupt dealings.
The Wajir gubernatorial petition pits Governor Mohamed Abdi Mahamud against Ahmed Abdullahi Mohamad, the latter having successfully moved the High Court and the Court of Appeal to overturn the August 8, 2017 gubernatorial election on grounds that the governor lacked valid academic credentials.
The High Court on January 12 last year allowed the petition, prompting Governor Abdi to move to the Court of Appeal where Justices Philip Waki, Asike Makhandia and Patrick Kiage upheld the nullification of the gubernatorial election by the High Court in a ruling delivered on April 20.
The Supreme Court outlined a number of applications that delayed the conclusion of the Wajir petition appeal filed before it on May 7.
According to the court, Governor Abdi filed an application on May 28 seeking to adduce more evidence, a filing the court heard and rendered a ruling on September 28.
Wajir Deputy Governor, Ahmed Ali Muktar is then said to have filed another application seeking to be enjoined, a request that was heard by the court on July 16.
A ruling allowing Ali’s request was issued on September 28.
In yet another application, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission through Wajir Returning Officer Gichohi Patrick filed a separate appeal against the Court of Appeal decision of April 20.
“On 5th June 2018, IEBC and Mr Gichohi Gatuma Patrick, the Returning Officer filed Petition of Appeal No.9 of 2018 against the Court of Appeal decision. On 11th June 2018 that Petition was consolidated with Petition No.7 of 2018 but was withdrawn on 21st November 2018,” the court explained in a statement to newsrooms.
In another application on October 5, petitioner Mohamad sought leave to cross-examine Governor Abdi.
The Supreme Court said responses to Mohamad’s application were subsequently made and a ruling on the same delivered on November 12.
“The Petition of Appeal was then heard on 21st November 2018. Under Rule 20(1) of the Supreme Court Rules, a judgment is to be delivered within 90 days from the date of hearing meaning that the Court, in the present case, has up to 21st February 2019 to deliver its judgment,” the court said.
Lawyers defending Governor Abdi had said a degree certificate or lack of it could not have been used to invalidate the August 8, 2017 gubernatorial election in Wajir.
They accused the petitioners of mischief arguing that the suitability question ought to have been raised before the election.