Appeal court rules on Kenya election date

Lawyers Anne Njogu and Stephen Mwenesi outside the Court of Appeal after the Centre for Education Rights and Awareness and the Caucus for Women's Leadership filed a petition challenging the High Court ruling on the date of the next General Election. The court will rule on the matter July 31, 2012. FILE

What you need to know:

Justice Martha Koome: Elections should be on or before January 15, 2013

The Court of Appeal is currently issue its ruling on the date Kenyans will go to the polls.

The five-judge bench has decided to issue five rulings on the matter and the first judge has declared that the polls should be held no later than January 15, 2013.

Appellate judges Erastus Githinji, Kalpana Rawal, Martha Koome, Hannah Okwengu and David Maranga will either uphold a decision reached by the High Court in January concerning the election date or dismiss the ruling and set a new one.

Judges Isaac Lenaola, David Majanja and Mumbi Ngugi ruled that the elections will be held in March, 2013 after the expiry of the current Parliament’s term unless the President and the Prime Minister agree in writing to dissolve the Coalition Government.

Following the decision and the failure by the two principals to indicate whether they will dissolve the government, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) went ahead to fix the election date on March 4, 2013.

However, two lobby groups, the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) and the Caucus for Women’s Leadership appealed against the High Court ruling claiming that the judges misinterpreted the Constitution.

The civil groups asked the Appellate Court to specifically declare that elections should be held latest by October 14, 2012 in conformity with the Constitution which gives the election date as the second Tuesday of August every fifth year.

They argued that that the High Court misdirected itself in interpreting the Constitution and did not give specific answers to Kenyans in regard to the date of the elections and that the judges did not correctly  interpret Section 9 and 10 of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution.

The decision of the Appeal Court is likely to shape preparations for the next election both in the political field and logistics for the electoral body.

In the event that the judges alter the March 4, 2013 date set by the IEBC, the commission will be forced back to the drawing board and hasten preparation for elections.

And should the Court of Appeal dismiss the activists’ arguments, they can resort to the Supreme Court where the dispute had first been taken last year before it was referred to the High Court for a final determination.


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