Nyaiyaki: Supreme Court registrar with strong sense of duty

She was present at every step during the hearing of the petition challenging the election of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Ms Esther Nyaiyaki could as well have been the busiest among the Supreme Court staff.

She had to sleep late and ensure that the court registry was open over the weekend and dead into the night to beat the strict deadlines.

NASA PETITION

But Ms Nyaiyaki kept going and facilitated the hearing of the petition filed by National Super Alliance presidential candidate Raila Odinga.

It was not her first time to handle the job, having done it in 2013.

The Kenya High School alumnus was present when the Nasa lawyers filed their voluminous documents, a few minutes to 12am on August 18.

The opposition coalition had until midnight that Friday to file the petition challenging President Kenyatta’s win.

PRE-TRIAL SESSION

And, as Mr James Orengo and other lawyers flocked the registry, she kept her cool and went through the documents and annexures, one after the other with her staff.

She was not intimidated by the presence of Mr Odinga, his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka and senators Amos Wako (Busia) and Moses Wetang’ula (Bungoma).

When it was the turn of President Kenyatta and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and its chairman Wafula Chebukati to file their responses, she waited late into the night to receive the documents.

Before the pre-trial conference, Ms Nyaiyaki invited lawyers for all parties before her so that they could frame the issues of interest ahead of the hearing.

DISAGREE

But when the lawyers appeared before her, they could not agree.

She gave them 30 minutes and told them to report back to her once they had settled the contentious matters.

Through Mr Peter Kaluma, Nasa said it had set out 28 issues it wanted addressed by the Supreme Court.

President Kenyatta, who was represented by Mr Fred Ngatia, had five matters while the commission presented only two.

When the parties failed to agree, Ms Nyaiyaki ruled that the matter be handled by the court.

FILING

Another issue that was handled by Ms Nyaiyaki were accusations that Nasa was still filing more documents well after the expiry of the deadline.

She promptly took up the matter and wrote to Nasa lawyers and copied to IEBC and President Kenyatta’s lawyers, informing them of the move.

Ms Nyaiyaki said the registry received two complete sets of 59 volumes of Nasa’s petition and two days later, the coalition filed six others.

The volumes were stamped as having been received on August 18 but she corrected the dates.

“The same have been rectified to reflect the actual date they were filed, that is August 20, 2017.

“Kindly note that this is deemed as the actual date of filing volumes 60, 61, 62 and 63,” Ms Nyaiyaki wrote.

SENIOR EDITOR

She was also given the task of overseeing the scrutiny of forms at the Milimani courts and later led a team to Anniversary Towers to access the computer servers and logs as directed by the Supreme Court judges. 

“I arrived at Milimani Ceremonial Hall around 5.20pm. I found some IEBC officials with representatives of the third respondent (Mr Kenyatta) already waiting,” she said in her report, which was used by the court to decide if irregularities were massive.

Ms Nyaiyaki did her law degree course at the University of Nairobi and holds an MA in international conflict management from the same institution.

Before joining the Judiciary on February 2013, she had worked as a senior editor at the National Council for Law Reporting.

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