Uhuru and Chebukati lawyers clash in Supreme Court
Lawyers for President Kenyatta and the electoral commission chairman, Wafula Chebukati, differed in court on Tuesday (November 14) during the pre-trial conference ahead of the hearing of a petition seeking to nullify Kenyatta’s re-election.
In one of his applications, Kenyatta, through his lawyers led by Senior Counsel Fred Ngatia, asked the six-judge bench to expunge documents that were filed by the petitioners on November 7, 2017 – a day after the stipulated deadline.
“The deadline for filing the petition was 6th November, but those documents were part of the petition but were filed on November 7. One day after the Constitutional timeline,” Ngatia submitted.
Responding to the application, the IEBC Chairman’s lawyer, Kimani Muhoro, said he does not support the prayer by Kenyatta’s legal team to have the documents struck out.
Judge Isaac Lenaola questioned why Muhoro was opposed to Kenyatta’s prayer. “These are documents that were filed out of time, they affect you, and you are saying you have no objection. Because?” posed Lenaola.
Chebukati’s lawyer shot up and explained that he has no issue with filing of documents beyond time since he understands how busy and hectic it could get at the Supreme Court registry.
“We have all had problems in filing documents, there has been a long queue at the registry, and it would be dishonest of me (to object). That’s all,” the IEBC Chairman’s lawyer briefly submitted.
He, however, agreed with Kenyatta’s lawyer that five memos from Chebukati adduced to the court by the petitioners should be expunged from the court records on grounds that they were “illegally” obtained.
“These letters (memos) are selectively introduced. For instance you have a memo from the Chairman and a memo in response. This is selective; this is creation of a narrative. This court should abhor and not allow itself to be dragged into leaked memos which are not conclusive,” Kimani submitted.
The pre-trial conference kicked off today at 11am and the Judges are expected to rule on the applications made by the parties.
Chief Justice David Maraga is also set to allocate each of the party time to argue their case during the hearing.
President Kenyatta is represented by lawyers Fred Ngatia, Ahmednasir Abdullahi, Ken Ogetto, Katwa Kigen, Tom Macharia and Kimani Kiragu among others.
Lawyers Waweru Gatonye, Kamau Karori, Eric Gumbo, Lucy Kambuni and Wambua Kilonzo appear for electoral commission with its chairman Chebukati being represented by Kimani Muhoro, Mohat Somane and George Murugu.