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Twitter wars after Raila serves Uhuru with petition papers via newspaper

Lawyers for opposition leader Raila Odinga have served their 25,000-page presidential election petition papers on President Uhuru Kenyatta and the electoral commission, paving the way for the start of a rigorous legal battle for the country’s highest office.

The National Super Alliance’s legal team opted to serve President Kenyatta, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and its chairman Wafula Chebukati — the three respondents — through an advertisement in a local daily on Sunday.

“Take notice that a petition has been filed at the Supreme Court in Nairobi in which you have been named as respondents,” read the notice. “Copies of the petition, supporting affidavits and annexures thereto may be obtained from the offices of Murumba and Awele Advocates.”

FILE RESPONSES

The President, the IEBC and Mr Chebukati, in his individual capacity as the presidential elections returning officer, now have until Thursday to file their responses.

On Sunday, IEBC said on its Twitter handle that they had not been served by Nasa and that their attempts to obtain hard copies of the documents had failed since the offices of Murumba and Awele Advocates were closed.

“Nasa is yet to serve us with the petition. Attempts to collect it from their lawyers on record proved futile as their offices were closed,” the commission tweeted at 4.30pm.

However, through a tweet, Nasa’s lawyer Paul Mwangi immediately dismissed the IEBC claim, saying all respondents had been served: “All parties to the presidential election petition have been served and have their documents. Ignore all mischievous claims.”

By 6pm, lawyers for Mr Odinga and those for the IEBC were still engaged in accusations and counter-accusations on the status of the petition.

DEADLINE

“We were advised that you were still filing documents as at midday today (Sunday). By a copy of this letter, we are requesting the Registrar of the Supreme Court to confirm which documents are being filed long after the deadline,” said lawyer Kamau Karori in a letter.

But Mr Mwangi dismissed the claims, terming then “IEBC mischief”. He said: “Their lawyers have been served, all these other things are just IEBC mischief.”

Nasa wants the Supreme Court to, among other things, declare President Kenyatta’s election victory invalid and order fresh a presidential election. Should the court agree with Mr Odinga, the election should be held within 60 days of the court’s declaration.