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CJ Maraga's team makes surprise decision on Raila's withdrawal from Oct polls

Here is why the IEBC had Raila Odinga's name on the ballot for October 26 polls

Earlier, two petitions filed at the Chief Justice David Maraga led Supreme Court had argued that the ‘withdrawal of Mr Odinga’ from the race would have necessitated the cancellation of the October poll. The Court has dismissed the demand, adding that Mr Odinga showed intent to quit the race, but failed to adhere to the constitutional and Elections Act 2017 provision.

“The letter to the IEBC was show of mere intention to withdraw but the court found that it had not  legal effect to grant the petitioner the pleadings. Mr Odinga would have filled the statutory form 24A for the IEBC to grant him his pleading,” Supreme Court judge Smokin Wanjala read the detailed ruling in part.

The Supreme Court judge, however, poked holes in both the constitution and the Elections Act 2017, for having a myriad of shortcomings to properly address the ‘withdrawal of the candidate through a letter’ as was the case with Mr Odinga.

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“However, it is important to note that neither the election act nor the constitution contemplates the withdrawal of the candidate from the presidential race through such means as the issue contested,” he said adding that if Mr Odinga had withdrawn from the race in three days from the time of nomination, the dynamics might have been different.

Earlier, the petitioner Harun Mwau and Njonjo Mue together with Khelef Khalifa questioned the inclusion of Cyrus Jirongo’s name at the last minute. Mr Jirongo had been declared bankrupt by  a High Court for failing to pay pending debts amounting to over Sh700 million.

Uhuru Kenyatta’s lawyer Fred Ngatia and IEBC’s Kamau Karori had argued that the commission made all its decisions guided by the law and the court.

Mr Karori said the move to include other candidates in the race was made by the High Court and the late inclusion of Jirongo was also necessitated by a court order.

Mr Wambua Kilonzo for the commission said the abandonment of Mr Odinga was inconsequential because he did not sign form 34A.

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He said the entry by a person as a candidate is a highly regulated process, so is the exit. Mr Mwau raised five issues for determination— including whether the IEBC was required to conduct fresh nominations before the repeat poll on October 26.

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