Milimani courts closed for hearing of presidential election petitions

Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi

Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The Judiciary has closed the Milimani Law Courts Nairobi for 11 days with effect from Friday August 26 to pave way for the hearing of presidential election petitions.

The court station will temporary host the Supreme Court sittings during the hearing of the nine Presidential petitions filed by different individuals and civil society groups challenging William Ruto's win in the August 9 presidential polls.

The proceedings will take place at the Milimani Law Court Ceremonial Hall, unlike the previous petitions where the hearing happened at the Supreme Court Building, within the City Central Business District. 

It is said that the seven judges of the apex court will not use the old building for want of adequate space as per the Covid-19 pandemic regulations.

In a notice released on Tuesday, the Judiciary said that during the 11-day period, urgent matters will be dealt with on the online platforms.

“All advocates, prosecuting counsels, clients, national police service, the prison service take note that Milimani Chief Magistrate criminal court and Traffic Court will not be physically accessible due to the hearing of the Presidential Election Petitions as from August 26 to September 5, 2022,” the notice indicates.

“Take further notice that all fresh pleas and certificate of urgency will be filed and handled at City Court. All matters scheduled for this period will be mentioned virtually for directions by the respective courts during the period," the notice further reads.

The presidential petitioners include those filed by Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party leader Raila Odinga and his running Martha Karua, Activists Okiya Omtatah and Khelef Khalifa, David Kairuki Ngari, Youth Advocacy Africa(YAA), John Njoroge Kamau, Juliah Chege and gospel singer Rueben Kigame.

These eight petitions are all seeking the invalidation of Dr Ruto's election and a repeat of the presidential election.

They are also seeking re-tally of the votes and investigations into the alleged election malpractices and irregularities.

However, in the ninth petition by Chama Cha Kazi party leader Moses Kuria and outgoing Mbeere South MP Geoffrey King'ang'i, they are seeking dismissal of the suit lodged by Raila Odinga and Martha Karua over alleged election malpractices.

The two outgoing MPs claim that Mr Odinga through his Chief Agents, led by Saitabao Kanchory, caused violence at the National Tallying Center, Bomas.

All the nine petitions will be determined by the seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice and President of the court, Martha Koome,

Others are Justices Philomena Mwilu (Deputy Chief Justice and Vice President of the Supreme Court), Njoki Ndung'u, Mohamed Ibrahim, Dr Smokin Wanjala, Isaac Lenaola and William Ouko.

According to the Supreme Court presidential election rules, the seven judges have up-to September 5 to determine validity of Dr Ruto's election as the fifth Kenya's President.

According to timelines released by Justice Koome recently, Dr Ruto and other respondents such as IEBC are supposed to file their responses to the nine petitions by Saturday August 26.

The court will then hold a pre-trail conference on Tuesday next week. During the conference the court will issue guidelines on how the hearing will be conducted and the time for presentation and rebuttal.

The hearing will commence immediately after the pre-trial, which could be done on the same day.

The judges have six days to hear and write the judgment. The entire presidential election petitions take 14 days from the filling date.

The decision of the court will be final; it could uphold the commission’s declaration which means that President-elect will be sworn in on September 12.

But it could also declare the commission’s announcement null, paving the way for fresh elections to be held 60 days after the nullification of such result.

Download a copy of Raila's Supreme Court petitionRaila Odinga petition download