High Court Judge, George Odunga has told off the electoral commission to strictly adhere to the law and stop excuses of possible electoral bloodshed as shortcuts to constitutional electoral processes.
In another historic ruling, Odunga, a thorn in the flesh of the Jubilee administration, rubbished IEBC claims that nullification of the lucrative tender could throw election preparations into jeopardy with consequences of possible violence.
Odunga said fidelity to the law is the panacea to public confidence in electoral processes, saying the 2007/2008 was triggered by general dissatisfaction with a bungled process.
“Although the IEBC alluded to the post-election violence of 2008, it was not the failure to conduct the elections that led to the same but the manner in which the same were conducted which rightly or wrongly aggrieved some of the contestants therein,” Odunga said.
“This Court’s mandate is to ensure that the elections are conducted in accordance with the Constitution and the law, and will not allow itself to be a rubberstamp for a process that is clearly flawed and whose result is unlikely to meet the constitutional and legal threshold.”
Odunga read the riot act to Dubai based printing firm, Al Ghuraiar that had won the tender for claiming that nullification will come with financial cost to the Kenyan taxpayer.
“This Court will not partake in a ritual in which the democratic rights of Kenyans are sacrificed on the altar of financial interests,” Odunga said.
The Dubai based firm is said to have links with ex-IEBC Chairman Issack Hassan who was ousted from office after weeks of bloody street protests.
In his 145-paged ruling, Odunga also confirmed that Opposition Chief Raila Odinga was right –– Hassan and his team of eight Commissioners were in office illegally during the three months transition.
The Monday High Court decision has thrown IEBC into disarray despite initially laughing off advice from Raila Odinga’s best legal minds.
Odunga said that once an office is declared vacant like was the case with former IEBC Commissioners, they are deemed to have left office
“Once an office becomes vacant, it is in effect empty and it cannot be contended that an empty office can make decisions,”Odunga said.
He declared that the secretariat can not execute any contract for the Commission.
“In my view, section 134(1) of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act only empowers the accounting officer [Chiloba] to prepare and execute the contract. It does not empower him to award the tender,”he said.