By Tysan, August 29, 2017: As the Supreme Court took up the petition charging that Kenya’s August 8 presidential election was rigged, the pre-trial scheduling conference started at 7 pm on Saturday night (August 26), after sundown in Nairobi. Chief Justice David Maraga is an Adventist and when he took office last year, he vowed that he would never work on Sabbath.
On Sabbath morning, Pastor Davidson Razafiarivony, director of the MDiv program in the seminary at the Adventist University of Africa in Hairobi, during services at the University Church pointed out that the Chief Justice was taking the Sabbath off as was Ezra Chiloba, the chief executive officer of the agency that runs elections in Kenya. The pastor praised Adventist Today for its coverage of this story and mentioned that he is a regular reader.
The National Super Alliance (NASA) filed a petition on Friday, August 18, asking that the vote re-electing President Uhuru Kenyatta be set aside because the password of Chris Msando was used to rig the outcome of the voting. Msando was the IT manager for the Independent Boundary and Elections Commission (IBEC), the agency that runs elections in the country and he was murdered shortly before the election.
Two candidates for president who received only a relatively small portion of the votes has petitioned to join the case. Michael W. Maura who came in last among the eight candidates for president indicated through his lawyer that he intended to support the re-election of President Kenyatta. Ekuru Aukot, the candidate of the Thirdway Alliance, said he wants to join the petition to set aside the election results because his audit found that the polls were rigged in favor of President Kenyatta.
Rulings on pre-trial motions from both sides were moved to Sunday evening (August 27) because of the number and complexity of the issues raised. Nonetheless, NASA clinched a major victory when the seven-judge panel permitted some new evidence to be introduced that had not been filed at the time of the deadline for the petition on August 18.
In all, the attorneys representing NASA were given access to 20 specific items that will allow them to fully examine the computer systems that handled the election and vote count: the number of servers, the firewall software, the operating systems, the policy governing passwords, the password matrix, the types of users and their levels of access, the redundancy plan of the IBEC Election Technology System, certified copies of tests conducted on the system, GPS location of each election system kit used from August 5 through 11, a list of the kits procured but not used, a list of the technical partners involved with the election and the kind of access each had to the system, a copy of the agreement with the technical partners, log-in trail of users in the IEBC servers, log-in trail of users in the election systems, administrative access log from August 5 to the present, certified photocopies of the original forms (34A, 34B and 34C) from all 40,800 polling stations across the country and the scanned and transmitted copies of these forms. They were also granted access to the person who wrote the software for IBEC.
Many people in Kenya were talking about the performance of attorney Paul Muite, advocate on behalf of IBEC. Some believed that his performance was exceptional during the first hearing on Saturday night, while others claim he lied to the court.
There was also drama on the grounds of the Supreme Court building on Sunday afternoon. NASA leaders Gladys Wanga and Simba Arati led a number of NASA activists in prayer, but were soon chased away by the police. The roads around the Supreme Court building have been closed to prevent any distractions or disorder.
Wafula Chebukati, chairman of IBEC, has stated, “The commission and I do not have a stake in the outcome of the elections at all. Throughout the election cycle, we were neutral referees. Our resolute mandate was to provide the electoral infrastructure for the people to Kenya to exercise their sovereign will to elect leaders of their choice.” International observers have stated that the election was, by and large, run fairly and openly.
According to the law, the decision on the petition must be delivered by Friday (September 1). This means that the judges and the attorneys and support staff for NASA are racing against time to deal with the massive amount of information involved.
As people across Kenya wait for the proceedings to be completed, tensions are rising on all sides. The room too small to accommodate everyone who like to observe the proceedings, and it is humid, hot and hostile. The court has ordered all parties involved in the litigation, the politicians and the media to cease and desist from discussing the petition in public.
There is also growing fear that violence may break out as it did in some prior elections. A number of Adventist churches have announced special prayer meetings, petitioning God to intervene and maintain peace in the country.
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