What the absentia of Mohammed Ibrahim means for Supreme Court

The stand off puts the court at cross roads.

Speaking before the kick off the historic hearing on Tuesday, Chief Justice and the president of the Supreme Court David Maraga divulged that the sick lawyer is being monitored by a doctor. Mr Maraga, however, failed to give more information on the status of the lawyer.

He has however hinted that the now six-bench lawyers could not wait for him to return.

"...because of pressure of time we will start without him,” he said.

Others in the team handling the petition are Deputy CJ Philomena Mwilu and Justices Jackton Ojwang’, Njoki Ndung’u, Smokin Wanjala and Isaac Lenaola.

Constitutionally, an even number of judges ought to seat and hear the petition – meaning that either seven or at least five judges ought to preside over the crucial case.

The argument around the even number is that in the event of a ruling that may require voting, the total number of votes being six, and for example if the outcome becomes a spilt half, it will mean a crisis.

Jubilee response

Meanwhile, Uhuru Kenyatta’s lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi described the petition by NASA leader Raila Odinga as science fiction as he sought to disprove it.

“This is a mockery of the judicial system and we will prove to you that this petition is based on a piece of science fiction. Whereas Article 140 and 163 3 (a) of the Constitution, provide both the jurisdictional and procedural platform for invalidating a presidential election, where can this court find it a substantive law to invalidate this election,” he stated.

President Kenyatta’s legal team comprising lawyers Fred Ngatia, Abdullahi and Ken Ogeto have three hours to argue for the dismissal of Odinga’s case.

Once they conclude, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and the Attorney General Githu Muigai will have 20 minutes each to argue on points of law.

In the evening at 5pm, a team appointed by Registrar of the Supreme Court to look at the electoral management system is expected to present its report to the court.

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