Raila’s Top Lawyers In Overturning Presidential Results
Raila Odinga, the leader of the Azimio movement, has assembled a team of high-powered lawyers for an epic Supreme Court battle to overturn William Ruto’s presidential victory.
A senior counsel with detailed knowledge of legal representation discussions says the team consists of more than 30 formidable legal minds divided into three tiers.
Senior counsels, experienced lawyers, and other advocates skilled at drafting and formulating legal arguments are among them.
Some of the lawyers were central to the 2017 case in which the Supreme Court declared President Uhuru Kenyatta’s election invalid.
After determining that the elections were marred by illegalities and irregularities, the court, led by Chief Justice David Maraga, declared them invalid, null, and void.
A number of lawyers who previously worked for President Kenyatta are expected to join Raila’s team.
Kiragu Kimani, Tom Macharia, Desterio Oyatsi, Waweru Gatonye, and a slew of other stars are expected to appear. They were also prominent in the BBI case.
Senior counsel Fred Ngatia, who has previously represented President Kenyatta in presidential petitions, told the Star that he had not been approached.
“We are birds of a feather. If assigned, I will inform you,” he said.
It was unclear whether former Attorney General Githu Muigai would join the team.
Some of the legal team began meeting soon after IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati announced the presidential results on Monday evening.
Senior counsels James Orengo, who is also the governor-elect of Siaya, Okong’o Omogeni, who recently retained his Nyamira Senate seat, and Kisumu senator-elect Tom Ojienda, and constitutional scholar Ben Shihanya are among those assembled by the ODM boss to save his political future.
Because governorship is an executive function, opinions differ on whether lawyers who have been declared governors-elect can personally argue court cases.
The team also includes senior counsel Pheroz Nowrjee, former Director of Public Prosecutions Philip Murgor, and senior counsel and Rarieda MP-elect Otiende Amollo.
Other candidates include Suba North MP-elect Millie Odhiambo, Homa Bay Town MP-elect Peter Kaluma, and Makueni Senator-elect Dan Maanzo.
Maanzo stated that they were in the final stages of assembling the lot and had completed the drafting of papers.
“We have been trying to craft the draft (petition) but we still want the team to be properly constituted so that everybody is onboard. We are quite a number [of lawyers],” he said.
Maanzo stated that each member of the team will be assigned a task, with Orengo and Amollo taking the lead. “Because Orengo has not yet been sworn in as governor, he can still argue the case,” he explained.
Shihanya, who has been by the ODM leader’s side for decades, did not confirm or deny being part of the legal team when contacted by the Star.
However, he asserted that the Azimio coalition possesses a plethora of battle-hardened lawyers who will play various roles in the war to overturn Ruto’s victory.
“From what our candidate said on Tuesday, there are numerous legal and constitutional processes ongoing in furtherance of our objective. However, on who will play what role is way above my pay grade,” the professor of law said.
Ruto was declared President-elect by IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati on Monday after defeating Raila and two other candidates in the August 9 election.
He declared Ruto the winner with 7,176,141 votes, or 50.49 percent of the total votes cast, to Raila’s 6,942,930 votes, or 48.85 percent of the total votes cast.
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Raila, on the other hand, flatly rejected the declaration and promised a fight with Chebukati, whom he accused of rigging the elections. He declared the figures presented by the IEBC chairman “null and void.”
“He could have plunged the country into chaos. Such impunity can be a threat to security [but] it is not up to us to determine whether Chebukati has committed an illegality,” Raila said on Tuesday.