CJ Koome Explains 'Hot Air' in Supreme Court Ruling

The remarks from the CJ will leave both former Azimio running mate, Martha Karua and...

CJ Koome Explains 'Hot Air' in Supreme Court Ruling
CJ Martha Koome during Supreme Court proceedings on the 2022 presidential election petition. /FILE

Chief Justice Martha Koome has defended the Supreme Court of Kenya's usage of the viral phrases 'hot air' and 'wild goose chase' which caused nightmares within the Azimio la Umoja coalition after losing the 2022 presidential petition.

Speaking to Citizen TV on Friday, November 4, Koome argued that the terms that have disturbed the Raila Odinga-led coalition were not used by the seven-judge bench in bad faith.

She noted that the apex court had clearly explained the reasoning behind what it concluded during the petition which sought to invalidate President William Ruto's win in the 2022 general elections.

A collage of Supreme Court judges. /COURTESY

The terms, according to her, were the Supreme Court's own expression of the finding of the evidence presented before the court, citing how some Form 34As which were brought before them relied on non-existent evidence.

"If you read the judgement and followed the reasoning, there is a reasoning for each of those conclusions…why the court made those remarks. Those are English terms, perhaps they angered some people, but they were not meant to offend anybody,” she said.

“It was just an expression of the finding of the evidence that was presented before the court because, for instance; there were some Form 34As which were brought, relying on evidence which was hearsay.”

She added that the court had counterchecked the original Form 34As against the ones the coalition claimed they were tampered with and surprisingly found that the latter was doctored.

The court had ordered a scrutiny of the ballot boxes from the polling stations Azimio claimed the interference allegations were from, comparing the box that had the alleged forms against that which had original forms brought by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

"Nonetheless, the court went ahead to look at the original Form 34As to compare with those forms which were alleged to have been interfered with, and the court found that those forms were actually photoshopped.

“The court went ahead to ask for the ballot boxes from all the polling stations where those allegations emanated from, where there was said to be interference, and Kenyans watched when scrutiny was done of those original forms in the boxes comparing them with original forms that were brought by IEBC; that exercise took no less than 36 hours, and that’s why perhaps the court said we did all this but it turned out to be a wild goose chase," she added.

The remarks from the CJ will leave both former Azimio running mate, Martha Karua and the Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) group with a steep mountain to climb at the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) where they filed their petition challenging the conduct of the Supreme Court and the IEBC during the August polls.

They wrote to the court based in Arusha, Tanzania on Friday, November 4 contesting the apex court's dismissal of seven petitions that challenged the validity of Ruto's election.

They argued that the issues they had raised in the petitions regarding the August 9 elections were not addressed in the court.

"We are filing this reference not only to enable the truth to come to light but also so that we can secure guarantees of non-recurrence of failures in this sensitive area of elections in the future.

"We took our dispute to the Supreme Court, hoping for a fair hearing. However, it undermined the rule of law by violating the right to a fair trial," read court documents in part.

The petitioners added that the ruling made on Monday, September 5 failed to consider the IEBC's failure to properly manage the elections by withholding critical aspects of the process such as the electoral technology and results management to persons it had no power over.

They further claimed that unauthorised persons accessed, deleted and uploaded election results and that IEBC, which was dysfunctional, did not investigate or respond to complaints.

They also argued that the apex court failed to examine all the evidence presented before it and refused to fully inquire into the technology applied while condoning IEBC's cover-up in refusing to grant access to its technology critical to determining the matter fairly.

Former Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya Alliance running mate, Martha Karua. /FILE