July 27th 2017

Top Stories / National

Why Jubilee feels Justice Odunga should have disqualified himself from the three-judge bench

After hearing the judicial review lodged by NASA, the High Court found that the besieged poll body failed to conduct public participation sufficiently, a move that goes against the constitutional requirement.

By Athanas Kipchumbaakipchumba@kenyafreepress.comTuesday, 11 Jul 2017 10:49 EAT

 The political temperatures in the country keep on ratcheting up as the clock ticks towards the forthcoming watershed elections, the Jubilee Party leaders have launched a scathing attack on the Judicial arm of government. This time round they are casting a dark shadow on the impartiality of Justice Odunga alleging that the respected High Court Judge had conflict of interest in the recent ruling that ordered the re-tendering of the ballot paper printing.

Addressing the press conference yesterday, the Jubilee campaign’s top secretariat officer, Raphael Tuju alleged that Justice Odunga was a relative of the NASA’s lead counsel and Siaya senator James Orengo. Mr Tuju said that this could have influenced the determination and further questioned if the CJ was cognizant of it.

“Justice Odunga is related to Orengo by marriage. He didn’t declare this, thus there’s conflict of interest. A younger sibling of Odunga’s wife is actually named James Orengo. Did Justice Maraga know all this?” posed the former Rarieda legislator.

Taking the cue from Mr Tuju, Prof. Kindiki who’s the outgoing Tharaka Nithi senator remarked that the judge in question should have declared this conflict of interest beforehand.

“This is a clear conflict of interest case in our opinion and the judge should have stated this and withdrawn…” quipped the legal scholar-turned-politician.

The leader of majority in the national assembly, Aden Duale remarked that the decision coming from the Judiciary are laced with biases.

Last week on Friday the High court delivered  a ruling directing that the IEBC revokes the tender which had earlier been awarded for the printing of the  ballot papers to the Dubai- based company, Al-Ghurair printing and publishing company. The three-judge bench ruling rubbed the ruling coalition the wrong way, going by their acidic political remarks directed at the Judiciary.

After hearing the judicial review lodged by NASA, the High Court found that the besieged poll body failed to conduct public participation sufficiently, a move that goes against the constitutional requirement.

The judges established that public participation in the direct procurement process was actually necessary to guarantee free, fair and credible elections.

Moreover, the bench found that the IEBC’s decision to meet the representatives of Jubilee and NASA at the exclusion of other parties fielding presidential candidates was inappropriate.

This ruling and many others in the past is what really prompted president Uhuru Kenyatta to say that orders being issued by the courts appear to be designed to scuttle the election and it was unacceptable.

The seemingly spooked Country’s CEO said that Kenyans will go to the elections come August 8 whether the opposition are ready or not…

Meanwhile, let’s wait and see which way the cat jumps.

Kipchumba is a staff writer/columnist at the Kenya Free Press





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