The Supreme Court’s verdict today will have a significant impact on the case pitting Raila Odinga against William Ruto that will begin at noon in the Milimani Law Courts.
Odinga is the primary petitioner in the Supreme Court case while his running mate Martha Karua is the secondary petitioner.
In a recap of 2017, the Supreme Court’s bench headed by Chief Justice David Maraga invalidated President Uhuru Kenyatta’s election, citing significant irregularities and violations of the law.
Justice Maraga ordered re-election to be held within 60 days, but Odinga refused to participate, citing his lack of confidence in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
Today’s verdict will be monumental for Chief Justice Martha Koome, Kenya’s first female president of the nation’s top court and the presiding judge who will preside over six other judges as they hear the nine distinct petitions that will result in a decision that could make or break things politically.
After a little more than a year in her current position, Koome will experience another pivotal event in her professional life as Kenyans and millions of others all over the world watch her deliver the Supreme Court’s decision.
Since the 2010 Constitution was enacted, the pioneering Lady Justice has faced pressure from all political parties and their supporters to rule in their favour. This pressure is similar to that experienced by her two predecessors.
Former Chief Justices Willy Mutunga and Maraga have followed a similar journey. They presided over two turbulent petitions, and their decisions led to criticism and appreciation for years after they were made.
Many people anticipate Koome, a woman of many firsts and renowned child and gender rights advocate who has faced many challenges over the course of her 34-year legal career, to rise above stereotypes and the vicious rivalry between the two major political coalitions in the nation.
The president-elect will take office a week after being sworn in if the majority of the judges uphold the decision by IEBC Chair Wafula Chebukati to proclaim Ruto the victor of the election.
However, re-elections would be held in 60 days if they overturn Chebukati’s ruling.
That’s not all, though. Given that Odinga wants the court to recount the ballots and declare him the winner, the judges are presented with another conundrum.