Blow to Karua as top court upholds Waiguru victory

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 00:00 |
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru (second, left) is joined by her deputy Peter Ndambiri (left) and their supporters in celebrating the ruling outside Supreme Court in Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/CHARLES MATHAI

The Supreme Court yesterday upheld Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru’s win in the 2017 General Election.

The five-judge Bench dismissed the application by Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua, saying it was time-barred.

In a decision read by Justice Isaac Lenaola, the five judges said proceedings in the High Court were a nullity as six months which an election petition should be heard and determined by the High Court had lapsed.

“Having found that the proceedings before the High Court were a nullity, we would have no jurisdiction to determine the remaining issues,” ruled Justice Lenaola.

 “The period provided for the settlement of electoral disputes cannot be extended by any court and we see no reason to depart from that position in this or any other case,” he added.

Waiguru and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had sought the dismissal of Karua’s petition, saying the High Court had no jurisdiction to determine an election petition after the lapse of six months from the date of its filing. 

Access justice

 Karua argued that the law was not intended to deny a litigant the right of access to justice and especially where the six months’ period lapse was on account of an appellate process which the applicant had no control over.

The judges, however, held that upon lapse of time, the High Court had no jurisdiction to determine the petition and as such, no decision emanating from the High Court should have been heard.

Karua moved to the top court after Court of Appeal on December 20, 2018 found that the High Court lacked jurisdiction to hear and determine the election petition upon the expiry of six months after the election petition had been lodged.

And in reaction to the ruling yesterday, Karua expressed dissatisfaction with the verdict. She took to Twitter lamenting the outcome hinting that her struggle to wrestle the seat from Waiguru is still on course. “I did not get justice at the court but Aluta continua. The journey to success is long and winding,” she wrote.

She  maintained she had a solid case and any assertion that she lost the case on lacking merit would be misleading. Karua blamed the court for failing to consider the evidence which was adduced by her legal team.

Wacheni propaganda! The court never considered the evidence or merits of the case. They simply said they lacked jurisdiction on account of time! Dismissed on a technicality,” she said, while responding to users who commented on the outcome.

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