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CJ Koome Gags Presidential Election Petitioners From Commenting on Case Until Ruling is Delivered

Chief Justice Martha Koome has amended Presidential petition rules.

In a Gazette Notice, the President of the Supreme Court amended Rule 18 of the Presidential Election Petition Rules by adding a sub-rule that states that there will be no discussions over the outcome of a presidential election petition once the hearing begins.

“Upon commencement of the hearing of the petition by the Court, litigants, their advocates and advocates’ agents shall refrain from expressing their opinion on merit, demerit or predict the outcome of the petition in any manner that would prejudice or impede Court proceedings until judgement is delivered,” it states.

Those in breach of the new rule, she said, will be guilty of contempt of court.

Reacting to the new rules, lawyer Nelson Havi said the court “cannot be the adjudicator and the legislator at the same time, worse still, in its own cause.”

Havi said he will be filing a petition at the High Court seeking to have the legal notice declared illegal.

“I will file a petition in the High Court to have this retrogressive, unlawful and unconstitutional legal notice by CJ Martha Koome quashed and declared null and void,” he tweeted on Tuesday.

In March, Koome castigated lawyers Nelson Havi, Esther Ang’awa and Ahmednassir Abdullai for commenting about the BBI case on social media while the hearing was ongoing.

She said the lawyers’ behaviour was meant to intimidate and scandalize the court’s judgement on the matter. 

“In the course of writing this judgement, the court observed with concern of commentaries on the pending judgement carried out on social media by some council some of whom are appearing in this matter,” said the CJ.

“Counsel Mr. Nelson Havi and Ms. Esther Ang’awa who appeared for the first and fifth respondents took to Twitter on different occasions on 19th February and February 15, 2022 and they cast aspersions on the court,” said CJ Koome.

“Equally culpable is the conduct of SC Ahmednassir Abdullai, who though not appearing in this matter, took a lead role in disparaging the court as evident from his posts on Twitter on February 8, 2022, February 15, 2022 and even as late as yesterday, March 29, 2022.”

A case challenging the outcome of a presidential election should be filed within seven days after the date of the declaration of the results of the presidential election.

Within fourteen days after the filing of a petition, the Supreme Court shall hear and determine the petition and its decision shall be final.

If the Supreme Court determines the election of the President- elect to be invalid, a fresh election shall be held within sixty days after the determination.

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