Win for UDA as Court of Appeal blocks use of manual register in Tuesday polls
The Court of Appeal has suspended the High Court ruling compelling the electoral commission to use a manual register in the general elections slated for Tuesday, August 9, 2022.
In a brief ruling delivered by a three-judge bench comprising Fred Ochieng, Paul Mwaniki Gachoka, Luka Kima'ru, the Appellate court set aside orders requiring IEBC to use a printed physical register in the Tuesday polls pending hearing and determination of a petition filed by the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party.
"Upon careful consideration of the appeal, we are of the view that UDA has made a case for the grant of the orders of a stay of the entire judgement delivered on August 4 2022 in the Nairobi High Court in the constitutional petition E306 of 2022 pending the hearing and determination of the intended appeal," Justice Kimaru, who led the ruling on behalf of the bench, said.
Last week, the High Court ruled that IEBC's decision to rely on the electronic system only was unconstitutional.
The commission had earlier dismissed demands by Azimio-One Kenya Alliance for the register to be used alongside a digital one, which the electoral agency preferred.
Justice Murage 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.