Lawyer Willis Otieno has opened the lid on the question by the Supreme Court on whether there will be a vacuum or constitutional crisis if the Supreme court moves to indict the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairperson, Wafula Chebukati.
Among prayers sought by the petitioners is the indictment of the IEBC Chair over abuse of office among other crimes allegedly committed while in office.
Willis Otieno relied on Article 142 of the Constitution to explain that the sitting president would remain in office until a new one is validly elected. He also added that other institutions such as parliament and the judiciary will continue to discharge their duties with regard to the replacement of Chebukati.
Willis Otieno, who was a running mate to presidential candidate Jimi Wanjigi, maintained that Chebukati is not immortal and he can resign from office but this does not mean the Commission and elections will still be conducted in the country.
“This court should not shy away if they find it necessary to indict the Chairperson Mr. Chebukati for the transgressions and the singular manner in which he has handled the elections to the detriment of Kenyans,” he stated.
He further told the apex court judges that the Parliament is well constituted and the Judiciary is still in place and these two arms of government are well placed to determine when the next polls will be held.
Willis Otieno further argued that the President will continue in office but his powers will be regulated as the law indicates.
Willis Otieno responds to Senior Counsel Fred Ngatia
William Ruto’s lawyer Fred Ngatia had told the Supreme Court judges that the nullification of the August 9 presidential election would also create a gap in the country’s leadership and urged the court to refrain from that position.
The lawyer stated that the country deserves regime legitimacy after an election and it was up to SCOK to validate the incoming government, having been elected on August 9 and declared by Wafula Chebukati.
However, Willis Otieno responded, insisting on the need to adhere to constitutional requirements.
On the issue of IEBC officials being tired and thus the rush in declaring results, Willis Otieno responded in kind,
“Our constitutional values and provisions shouldn’t be sacrificed at the altar of convenience. If the election officials are tired and cannot do another election we have more Kenyans who are willing to do this work properly, give them that opportunity,” he stated.
The Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling on the case on Monday, September 5th.