Former Rift Valley Law Society of Kenya chairman Kipkoech Ngetich has faulted the High Court ruling that cancelled the tender for the printing of Presidential ballot papers given to Dubai-based Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing LLC citing lack of public participation.
The Kericho-based lawyer wondered what input the members of public would contribute to such a tender saying, it would be ineffective.
He questioned why the cancellation did not involve the other five elective positions since no “public participation” took place either.
On Friday, High Court judges Joel Ngugi, George Odunga and John Mativo nullified the tender and directed the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to start the tendering process afresh.
“I do not agree with the ruling of Justice Ngugi, Justice Odunga and Justice Mativo. When you say that there was no public participation in matters of procurement, it is like saying that stakeholders should go to a field like Kericho Green Stadium, Afraha or Bomet Stadium and ask people what they think about the contractor or supplier, issues which most members of the public do not understand,” said the lawyer.
In any event, he said, the integrity issues raised against Al-Gurair did not hold since the three judges said there was no evidence that there was any relationship between the President and the company’s directors.
“The weighty issues raised by Nasa about improprieties and about a scheme to rig votes were thrown out [by] the court. But the court still used the issue of public participation which it said should only be carried out at the level of printing Presidential voting papers. Why not papers for other elective position?” he posed.
“That is why I don’t believe that the High Court decision was within the law. I feel the judges did not do a good job,” said Mr Koech.
However, he castigated President Uhuru Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and Senator Kipchumba Murkomen for waging an attack on the Judiciary saying the move would make the public lose trust in the courts.
“Court cases are not discussed in political rallies. You send a sharp lawyer who is beyond reproach to tackle the issues head on in the High Court.
“If the case fails, go to the Court of Appeal, thereafter, if it fails at the Supreme Court, just know the case did not favour you,” he told Nation by phone.
He defended Chief Justice David Maraga saying he does not sit at the High Court, neither do the three judges who sat take instructions from the CJ.
“The courts are independent and we are asking the politicians as a whole to know that the courts are not an appendage of the executive,” the lawyer said, adding that rulings were given based on existing facts and not intimidation.
“If we attack judges in rallies, they will lose public trust and people will not take election cases to court. That could cause chaos like it happened in 2007,” he said.
He said there are no Nasa or Jubilee judges.