Lawyers battle it out over New Electoral Zones in the country

The Battle Over New Electoral Zones Kicks Off

Posted by | Posted on 29 May 2012

By Dennis Lubanga

As the nation gears up for the next landmark polls, measures are being put in place to see that the process runs in a free and fair manner.

Already a five-bench judge has been appointed to resolve the stalemate surrounding the new electoral units created by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Nairobi judge, Mohammed Warsame who heads the team that comprises of Ruth Sitati, Hellen Omondi, Pauline Nyamweya and David Majanja has already presided over the first pre-trial of the 125 judicial review and Constitutional petitions seeking to review the creation of 80 constituencies and county wards by the IEBC.

IEBC Chairman, Ahmed Isaack Hassan

In a bid to enhance national cohesion and integration, the judges have promised that the decision they will give will be free and fair to everyone and would steer unity and peace.

“In finding the solutions, the court shall be guided by the rule of law and respect for the rights of all Kenyans,” Judge Warsame said.

The Electoral Act has set a 90-day deadline for concluding the cases and so, lawyers representing parties aggrieved by the creation of the new boundaries agreed to come up with common issues they seek the court to determine.

Under the guidance of Mr. Stephen Mwenesi, the parties are seeking a determination of whether the IEBC’s decision to gazette the new boundaries was Constitutional.

Mr. Mwenesi argued that IEBC’s legal notice of the boundaries stated that new electoral regions took effect on March 7 whereas Article 89 (7) of the Constitution states that the new boundaries shall come into effect on the dissolution of Parliament.

The lawyers are also questioning whether the electoral body should be put to task for allegedly disregarding the views and testimonials it received from Kenyas.

Lawyers drawn from Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Nakuru, Kakamega, Kisii and Bungoma stated that it would be wise if the cases were taken back to the grassroots so that Kenyans who raised the red flag be given a chance to participate in the proceedings.

The judges ruled that the Chief Justice had already exercised his authority in appointing the bench and there will be no danger of any party missing the the opportunity to be heard.

IEBC has since set March 4, 2013 as its desired date for the General Elections that will take place under the new Constitution that brings on board the devolved governance structure.


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