Markets remain cagey as presidential petition starts – Business Daily
Seven Judge bench at the Supreme Court during the presidential election petition hearing on Wednesday, August 31, 2022. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG
The capital market shed Sh10.5 billion to close the day’s trading at Sh2.14 trillion from Tuesday’s close of Sh2.15 trillion even as the Supreme Court started the hearing of seven petitions challenging the declaration of William Ruto’s victory as the president-elect.
Investors are waiting on the decision of the apex court judges, who have been asked to nullify the outcome of the August 9 presidential poll over failure to adhere to applicable laws and the Constitution.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati came under spotlight as lawyers for Raila Odinga and six other petitioners said he deliberately ignored the law and abrogated himself the role of the commission with a plan to compromise the election.
Lawyers led by Siaya Governor James Orengo said the process of verification and tallying of presidential election results is the responsibility of the commission and not of the chairman alone. He said Mr Chebukati’s role is to formally declare the presidential result and issue a certificate to the president-elect after the commissioners have verified and tallied the results from polling stations.
Nullification of the presidential election and disbandment of the electoral body as prayed by Mr Odinga will see Kenyans wait longer for the next president to assume office. Four commissioners led by vice chairperson Juliana Cherera distanced themselves from the declaration of Dr Ruto as the president-elect because they were not involved at the tail end of the process.
They also claimed that Mr Chebukati failed to tally and verify results from 27 constituencies raising doubts on the outcome of the presidential election.
Mr Chebukati has defended himself saying chaos broke out at the national tallying centre at the Bomas of Kenya before the results from the 27 constituencies were declared.
“How absurd can it be? The commissioners were relegated from their core function, which the chairman took over,” Mr Willis Otieno for activist Khelef Khalifa said.
The lawyer said the electoral body’s system was compromised from the beginning and the problem at IEBC, especially Mr Chebukati, was systemic. He asked the court to make appropriate orders for action to be taken against the IEBC chairman.
“He (Mr Chebukati) took no remedial measures and went ahead and conducted the elections in the manner in which it was conducted,” he said observing that the chairman never took into consideration recommendations made by the court after nullifying the election in 2017.
Mr Otieno said Mr Chebukati, Prof Yakub Guliye and Molu Boya are the only commissioners who were involved in the 2017 general election and they have done nothing to improve the electoral body, as directed by the Supreme Court following the nullification of the presidential results in last elections.
“They are the only commissioners who procured the kits and the only ones who have dissented. The court should make appropriate orders. It is time that Chebukati should be shown that the will of the people cannot be interfered with. Why should the people suffer anxiety after every election?” he posed.
The seven judges of the top court heard that lack of transparency in the tallying and verification of the results erodes public confidence in the election.
Mr Otieno said the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) conducted an investigation and found that foreigners indeed interfered with the elections. He said the DCI report corroborated an audit conducted by KPMG early in the year, of unauthorised entries into the voters’ register.