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Raila Odinga. [File, Standard]

Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya leader Raila Odinga has said he accepts the verdict of the Supreme Court of Kenya on the presidential election but doesn’t agree with it.

Seven Supreme Court judges on Monday, September 5 unanimously upheld William Ruto’s victory in the August 9 presidential petition, saying Odinga’s legal team did not produce evidence to warrant nullification of the election.

The judges are Martha Koome (Chief Justice), Philomena Mwilu (Deputy Chief Justice), Mohammed Ibrahim, Smokin Wanjala, Njoki Ndung’u, Isaac Lenaona and William Ouko. 

Odinga, who challenged Ruto’s victory in court, said it was “incredible” that all the nine key grounds on which he sought nullification of the president-elect’s win were thrown out.

The former prime minister’s team had argued that some forms 34A were intercepted mid-air and changed before being rerouted to the IEBC portal.

On this claim, the Supreme Court ruled that Odinga’s legal team did not provide any evidence to prove the allegation, saying the IEBC showed that the election technology was secure, verifiable and transparent.

The court also established that Ruto was validly elected as president by getting at least 50 per cent plus one vote.

“We respect the opinion of the court although we vehemently disagree with their decision today,” Odinga said in a press statement on Monday, September 5. 

“Our lawyers proffered irrefutable evidence and the facts were on our side, unfortunately, the judges saw it otherwise. We find it incredible that the judges found against us all nine grounds and occasion resulted to unduly exaggerated language to refute our claims,” said Odinga.

The Azimio leader urged his supporters to remain calm, saying he’ll give directions later.

“We thank our supporters and Kenyans across the country for standing with us. We will be communicating in the near future on our plans to continue our struggle for transparency, accountability and democracy,” Odinga said.

Ruto, who ran on UDA ticket, got 7.18 million votes (50.49 per cent) against Odinga’s 6.94 million (48.85 per cent).

The president-elect, as per the law, will now be sworn in as Kenya’s fifth president on Tuesday, September 13, which is seven days after the Supreme Court renders it verdict.  By Winfrey Owino, The Standard

The much-awaited Supreme Court judgment of the presidential petition will be delivered on Monday, September 5, at noon. 

According to a notice from the registrar of the Supreme Court of Kenya, Letizia Wachira, the seven-judge bench will be expected to deliver the judgment at Milimani Law courts. 

The judges comprise Chief Justice Martha Koome, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, Isaac Lenaola, Smokin Wanjala, Ibrahim Mohammed, Njoki Ndungu and William Ouko.

A display of the Supreme court session as hearing of petition continues on August 31, 2022
A display of the Supreme court session as hearing of petition continues on August 31, 2022 JUDICIARY
 

"Take notice that the judgment in this petition will be delivered on Monday, September 5, 2022, at noon at the Supreme Court of Kenya Milimani Law Courts," read part of the notice. 

Azimio's Raila Odinga and Martha Karua filed a petition challenging the outcome of the presidential election in favour of president-elect, William Ruto.  

Among the issues that Raila pointed out in his petition included; Ruto did not garner the 50 percent plus one vote requirement, arguing that results from 27 constituencies were yet to be tallied and verified by the time of the announcement. 

Azimio also claimed that IEBC could not account for 250,000 votes, excluding the manual votes cast. Raila and his running mate sought the apex court to declare them president-elect and Deputy president-elect respectively. 

Raila also sought a comprehensive and forensic audit of all equipment and technology used by the electoral commission in the presidential election. Raila also sought Chebukati to be declared unfit to hold public office. 

A total of nine petitions were filed challenging the presidential outcome. The Supreme Court later consolidated seven petitions into one, arguing that the issues raised in the seven petitions were parallel to each other and would be merged with the lead petition filed by Raila.

"Upon perusing and considering issues raised in the petitions we find that they lay similar issues and seek similar orders therefore we order that the petitions be and hereby consolidated with petition E005 which is the lead presidential election petition for 2022," Koome stated. 

The Supreme Court is expected to base its judgment on nine key issues which were highlighted during the pre-trial conference.  By BRIAN KIMANI, Kenyans.co.ke

Supreme Court judges (from left) Isaac Lenaola, Dr Smokin Wanjala, Philomena Mwilu, Martha Koome, Mohamed  Ibrahim, Njoki Ndung’u and William Ouko on January 20, 2022. File | Nation Media Group

As the seven Supreme Court judges walk back to court to read their verdict on the consolidated presidential election petitions today, it will have far reaching implications on the top political class and the country’s elections agency, whichever way they rule. 

According to the Supreme Court Act and the Supreme Court (Presidential Election Petition) Rules, 2017, upon conclusion of the hearing of a presidential petition the court may make an order dismissing the petition or invalidating the declaration made by the electoral commission under Article 138(5) of the Constitution.

The court may also make an order declaring the election of the president-elect valid or invalid.

If it finds that the president-elect was validly elected, it paves way for the swearing-in, while invalidation means a repeat of the presidential election. The fresh poll takes place within 60 days after the judgment.

In addition, the court also makes an order on payment of costs of the petition and based on the previous petitions the financial bill runs to hundreds of millions of shillings.

The court can also make any other order as it may deem fit and just in the circumstances.

For instance, in the case before court, major aspersions were cast against the conduct of the members of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) led by their chairperson, Mr Wafula Chebukati.

The court is likely to pronounce itself on the allegations and is expected to issue a clarification on the IEBC commissioners in the verification and tallying of presidential votes.

The chairperson was accused of exercising veto powers and excluding the other commissioners, allegations that he denied and said he acted as provided in the election laws.

Like the 2017 judgment (CJ David Maraga decision), which enhanced transparency in the conduct of the elections and guided the IEBC on the elections process, the 2022 judgment under stewardship of CJ Martha Koome is also likely to shape conduct of the future elections. 

The upcoming judgment may be the beginning of a major shake-up in the political landscape.

Among the issues that Kenyans will be observing is whether the Supreme Court will deliver a summary judgment then retreat again to come up with a detailed substantive verdict like was the case in 2013 and 2017.

Another observation is on whether the judges will come up with a singular unanimous judgment or each judge will write his/her own judgment and read it in open court.

Pundits argue that multiple judges delivering a single judgment, unanimous or not, denies people benefit of getting the intelligence resource possessed by each of the judges on rationale of a verdict, writing skills and on research.

Being multiple judges tasked to decide the presidential election petitions, there is likelihood of a disagreement on the outcome of the case considering that it involves various issues and a framework of at least nine questions.

IEBC explains why results livestream stopped, Jose Camargo issue

In such circumstances, there will be two or more decisions — a majority decision, dissenting or concurring decisions.

The judges vote on their findings on each issue in the election petition and the majority decision becomes the court’s verdict, which is read out by the Chief Justice.

During the oral hearings, there were regular bar-bench engagements.

Petitioners led by Azimio la Umoja coalition leader Raila Odinga had their day in court on Wednesday, the respondents including President-elect William Ruto and IEBC fired back on Thursday and Friday was set aside for rejoinders by petitioners and deliberations on the scrutiny ordered by the court. 

At the heart of the court proceedings were various questions asked by the judges to parties. The questions and the arguments made by the parties may give a snippet of the likely outcome of the case.

For instance, on the petitioners’ prayer for fresh elections, removal of Mr Chebukati from office and disbandment of the elections body, Justice Mohammed Ibrahim asked how that is possible since the Constitution does not contemplate such a lacuna.

Another question by Chief Justice Martha Koome on application of technology, was a demonstration on how the electronic devices used to transmit results from polling station converted images from Jpeg to PDF.

While the petitioners alleged that the conversion was done by interception of the election results forms by unknown third parties, IEBC explained that the devices used in the elections had an application that converts images into PDF format.

One of the key issues that the judges will be answering is on the election technology deployed by IEBC to conduct the 2022 elections, and whether it met the standards of integrity, verifiability, security and transparency to guarantee accurate and verifiable results.

The petitioners claimed the elections system was not secure and that it was hacked by Venezuelans, who “also determined the president-elect”.

They alleged that the election result forms used to tally results were doctored and that Dr Ruto did not attain the Constitutional threshold of 50 per cent plus one vote. 

But the IEBC denied the allegations and said the system was secure and could not be hacked.

The commission’s lawyer Mahat Somane also discredited the petitions, describing the petitioners’ calculations as an old litigation approach in numbers for “shock and awe”.

Using a powerpoint demonstration, he sifted through the figures and explained the voter turnout and claims of voter suppression.

He also took the court through anomalies stated in various affidavits of the petitioners and overall results indicated in various forms and the efficiency of the technology deployed by IEBC.

On claims of results being doctored by third parties in the system, IEBC dismissed the allegations and also implored the court to use a fall back plan of checking the original Forms 34A used to declare results at the respective 46,229 polling stations.

The figures in the forms were endorsed by agents of various parties and election candidates.

The court will also determine whether postponement of Mombasa, Kakamega elections led to voter turnout suppression in the presidential election.

The petitioners alleged that the postponement of gubernatorial elections in Kakamega and Mombasa counties on the eve of the general elections was a deliberate plan to suppress voter turnout and that Mr Odinga was disadvantaged by the decision.

However, the postponement also affected parliamentary races in Rongai, Kacheliba, Kitui Rural and Pokot South Constituencies as well as MCA polls in Kwa Njenga and Nyaki West wards.

In response, IEBC and Dr Ruto argued that there was no voter suppression in the said electoral areas. Using comparative data, Mr Mahat said the turnout in the affected areas was similar or within the range of the neighbouring areas.

For instance, he said in Kakamega the turnout was 60.29 per cent, the neighbouring Bungoma 63.51 per cent while Vihiga, another neighbour was 60.13 per cent. Voter turnout in Mombasa was 44 per cent while in the neighbouring Kilifi county turnout was at 49 per cent.

Another key issue is on the actual total turnout of voters. The petitioners said the turnout was indeterminate and that the final figure was a moving target. They alleged that the number of voters who turned out to vote remains indeterminate and that the turnout was over 65.4 per cent.

But IEBC said the actual final turn out was 64.767 per cent and that the petitioners were relying on a figure announced by the chairperson in a press briefing, but which was later corrected.

The apex court will also determine if there was an unexplained difference between the number of votes garnered by the four presidential candidates (Ruto, Odinga, Waihiga Mwaure and George Wajackoyah) and those received by the candidates contesting for the other five elective positions (47 governors, senators and woman representatives, Members of National Assembly in the 290 constituencies and 1,450 MCA slots).

The petitioners alleged that there was a big difference which they believe is a product of fraud.

But IEBC said the only difference between the presidential and gubernatorial votes was 900 votes and not the thousands that Mr Odinga and the other petitioners alleged.  By Joseph Wangui, Daily Nation

• Army patrol eliminates three, recover weapons in Kaduna
• NMS graduates 220 soldiers ready for battle

Troops of 199 Special Forces and 222 Battalions, Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK) in coordinated military airstrikes have killed 200 Boko Haram terrorists, including five commanders, on the fringes of Sambisa Forest in Borno State.

In sustained operations to clear the North West of banditry and terrorism, at the weekend, troops of 1 Division, the Army has neutralised three bandits and terrorists along Sabon Birni, Dogondawa-Kuyelo and Farin Ruwa.

In Kaduna State, the Nigerian Military School (NMS), Zaria, over the weekend, graduated 220 soldiers for the 2022 session.

 

The coordinated joint military operations of September 1, 2022, in Borno also led to the neutralisation of top five commanders of the terror group. They are Abou Hauwa, Amir Shettima, Akura Buri (Nakif), Abou Zainab and Abou Idris.

A counter-insurgency expert in the Lake Chad region, Zagazola Makama, stated, yesterday, in Maiduguri: “An intelligence-led aerial and ground operations targeted the terrorists’ hideouts in the Gaizuwa border, comprising Gabchari, Sheruri, Mantari and Mallam Masari villages in Bama Local Council of the state.

He said the ground troops had, during the raid, stormed a hideout of the terrorists at Gafchari, where they engaged the bandits in a gun battle, which led to the killing of over 30 insurgents, while others escaped with gunshot wounds towards the forest.

The Air Task Force (ATF), in another coordination with the ground troops, he added, detailed two Super Tucano jets to conduct air interdiction missions against the terrorists.

This, he explained, led to the killing of additional 70 fighters and drowning of many who tried to escape.

“Similar strikes were also undertaken at Sheruri when the combat aircraft attacked another location of fighters deployed to stage an ambush against the ground troops,” Makama said.

The Guardian gathered that the Super Tucano scored a devastating hit, killing Buri and Hauwa and more than 63 of their foot soldiers.

His words: “In another separate encounter with the terrorists during the robust fighting patrol, the troops succeeded in eliminating many insurgents in the axis of Mantari in a gun battle that lasted over two hours.

“In Gazuwa, the troops destroyed two vehicles and the home of Abou Iklilima, which used to be a hideout for insurgents’ leaders. Other makeshift tents and properties belonging to terrorists were also destroyed.”

Few of the surviving terrorists, who returned on September 3 to recover terrorists’ bodies, were able to retrieve 36 additional bodies in the river near Gabchari village, he noted.

Meanwhile, when the terrorists were preparing to conduct mass burial for their dead commanders, the military authorities also deployed Super Tucano to the location and neutralised most of them. 

“This has completely degraded the capabilities of the terrorists in Sambisa Forest and the Lake Chad region,” noted the Theatre Commander of OPHK, Maj-Gen. Christopher Musa, in Maiduguri.

The troops in the North West, according to army spokesman, Brig-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, in the ensuing shoot-out, eliminated three of the terrorists and recovered two AK-47 rifles, nine magazines, seven Baofeng communication radios, one Tecno mobile phone, 120 rounds of 7.62 mm special ammunition, one power generator and a motorcycle.

Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Faruk Yahaya, has said that the passing out boys of NMS would undergo further training to adequately prepare to contribute to the defence of the nation.

He made the remarks at the 64th Passing Out Parade (POP) of the NMS Boys at Chindit Cantonment, Zaria.

The COAS, who was the Special Guest of Honour and Reviewing Officer for the POP, stated that the graduating boys would undergo a six-week training at the Nigerian Army School of Infantry to prepare them for future tasks. By Odita Sunday (Abuja), Njadvara Musa (Maiduguri) and Abdulganiyu Alabi (Kaduna), The Guradian

 

Public figures and celebrities participated in the "kwita izina" ceremony, the gorilla-naming event that takes place every year in Rwanda.

Speaking from the UK, Prince Charles was one of the public figures invited to name a baby gorilla.

"The baby I will be naming is a male baby gorilla born on the 29th of April, 2022 from the Umuhoza family, to its mother Agasaro. The name I give him is Ubwuzuzanye which means harmony", said the British monarch.

In total 20 baby gorillas of the Volcano National Park in North west Rwanda were named.

Other figures chosen to name gorillas were the representative of the Francophonie and Senegalese musician Youssou N'dour.

"(My baby gorilla) Born on the April 8th 2022 his name is Turikumwe, which means we are together. And when he will come to visit me in France I will call him "on est ensemble", said Louise Mushikiwabo, Secretary General of Organisation internationale de la Francophonie.

Senegalese musician Youssou N’dour, added: 

"The name I give it is Ihuriro, which means turning center. This name was chosen to represent Rwanda as a multi-sectoral hub."

This year marked the 18th edition of this event. - Africanews

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