UDA files petition contesting use of manual register in Tuesday polls
Deputy President William Ruto’s party United Democratic Alliance (UDA) has lodged an appeal at the Court of Appeal challenging the decision to compel the electoral commission to use the printed physical register to identify voters during Tuesday's general election.
In an urgent application filed before the Appellate court, UDA wants the court to issue a temporary order staying the entire judgement issued last week by High Court Judge Murage Thande that quashed IEBC's decision to scrap the manual identification system during the August 9 polls.
"That pending the hearing and determination of the intended appeal this honourable court be pleased to grant temporary orders staying the entire judgement delivered on August 4, 2022, in Petition E306 of 2022," UDA states in its court papers.
The party, through its lawyer Elias Mutuma, says it's dissatisfied with Justice Thande's ruling on the grounds that the implementation of the decision is likely to be enforced tomorrow if the court does not intervene.
"That the said decision now makes the use of a manual register as a primary mode of identification of voters hence the same is prima facie legally unsound and contrary to the law in that it dilutes and or amends the mandatory provisions of Section 44 of the Elections Act which dictates that identification of voters is to be done electronically," UDA says.
Last week, the High Court said IEBC's decision to rely on the electronic system only was unconstitutional.
Justice Thande observed that the decision of the commission to abandon the printed register violates the Constitution, which provides that where an electronic voter identification device fails the use of such a physical register would suffice.
"With the IEBC decision not to use the printed voter register, there is a real risk of disenfranchising eligible voters. This court must therefore step in through its supervisory powers to ensure that the IEBC though independent operates subject to the law,” the judge ruled.
The judge further said that the IEBC’s decision could have voters’ constitutional rights violated.
"A declaration is issued that the decision of IEBC and its Chairman signified under a letter dated June 10, 2022, stating that the commission shall not use the manual register of voters in general elections is unconstitutional and the said decision is quashed," Justice Thande added.
Justice Thande stated that IEBC has a constitutional mandate to take all necessary logical steps to ensure that all citizens' rights under Article 38 as read together with Article 33 of the Constitution are observed, respected, promoted and fulfilled.
The court of appeal is expected to make its ruling on Monday at around 4:30 PM.