No need for ballots during hearing, court rules

The High Court has put to rest debate on whether ballot boxes should be deposited with the registrar of the court during the hearing of an election petition.

Justice Richard Mwongo yesterday ruled, in a petition filed by former Nairobi Mayor George Aladwa, who is challenging the election of Mr Benson Kangara as Madaraka MP, that ballot boxes need not always be available for every hearing.

“I consider the more accurate perspective of the law overall, is that ballot boxes are required on a case by case whenever scrutiny is in issue and in such case, on the Motion of the court or upon application of a party,” said the judge.

Mr Aladwa through his lawyer Cecil Miller, had sought clarification as to whether the electoral body had complied with provisions of Rule 21 of the election petition rules.

The rule provides that the commission shall deliver to the Registrar, the ballot boxes in respect of that election not less than 48 hours before the trial date and the results of the relevant election within 14 days of being served with the petition.

The commission had informed the court that it had not complied with the rules since Aladwa had not raised the issue during the pre-trial conference but that it could, if ordered, deliver the ballot boxes.

The court, however, ruled there was no need to bring them as the petitioner is not seeking scrutiny of votes.

Posted on STANDARD on June 5