Raila Odinga, the head of the Azimio party, has gathered a team of formidable legal counsel in preparation for a titanic Supreme Court struggle to overturn William Ruto’s election triumph.
The team consists of more than 30 great legal brains, divided into three levels, according to a senior counsel with extensive knowledge of negotiations concerning legal representation, who spoke to the Star.
They are seasoned attorneys, senior counsel, and other advocates with expertise in drafting and developing legal arguments.
Some of the attorneys were at the center of the 2017 lawsuit in which the Supreme Court declared President Uhuru Kenyatta’s election invalid.
After determining that the elections were plagued by illegalities and irregularities, the court, which was then presided over by Chief Justice David Maraga, ruled the results illegitimate, null, and void.
According to reports, a number of attorneys who formerly worked for President Kenyatta will be on Raila’s team.
Numerous actors, including Kiragu Kimani, Tom Macharia, Desterio Oyatsi, Waweru Gatonye, and others are anticipated to play major roles.
They played a significant role in the BBI case as well.
Senior attorney Fred Ngatia, who has defended President Kenyatta in prior bids for the presidency, told the Star that he has not yet been contacted.
“We are birds of a feather. If assigned, I will inform you,” he said.
If former Attorney General Githu Muigai will join the group was not immediately known.
Following the IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati’s Monday night announcement of the presidential results, the Star reported on Wednesday that some members of the legal team had already begun meeting.
Sources said that Raila decided to appeal the results before the supreme court based on advice from the battalion.
The team is being managed by Paul Mwangi, a longtime legal advisor to Raila, and Jackson Awele, one of the top attorneys in the 2017 case.
Mwangi and Awele, who are both recognized for their writing abilities, are seen to be essential in outlining the inquiries the team would explore while making its case.
The 2017 election petition was mostly handled by Awele’s legal business, and his office served as the hub for organizing filing and correspondence.
Mwangi and Awele, among others, played a significant role in the conflict that attempted in vain to defend the BBI procedure that was deemed to be unlawful.
Among those the ODM leader has gathered to protect his political future are senior counsels James Orengo, who is also the governor-elect of Siaya, Okong’o Omogeni, who just retained his position in the Nyamira Senate, Kisumu senator-elect Tom Ojienda, and constitutional expert Ben Shihanya.
There is disagreement over the subject of whether attorneys who have been elected governors may physically present their arguments in court.
The other members of the team include senior lawyer Pheroz Nowrjee, former director of public prosecutions Philip Murgor, senior counsel, and Rarieda MP-elect Otiende Amollo.
Others include Dan Maanzo, a senator-elect for Makueni, Millie Odhiambo, an MP-elect for Suba North, and Peter Kaluma, a representative for Homa Bay Town.
Maanzo said that they had finished preparing the documents and were finishing up the lot’s assembly.
“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.
Orengo and Amollo will take the team’s leadership, according to Maanzo, and each member will have a specific task. “Orengo may still make his case since he hasn’t been sworn in as governor,” he added.
Shihanya, who has been by the ODM leader’s side for decades, would neither confirm or deny being a member of the legal team when approached by the Star.
However, he said that the Azimio alliance has a large number of litigators with extensive combat experience who would play various roles in the campaign to overturn Ruto’s triumph.
“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 proclaimed the winner of the election on August 9 after defeating Raila and two other candidates, according to IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati, who made the announcement on Monday.
With 7,176,141 votes, or 50.49 percent of the total votes cast, he pronounced Ruto the victor over Raila, who received 6,942,930 votes, or 48.85 percent of the total votes.
However, Raila vehemently disagreed with the statement and vowed to fight Chebukati, whom he accused of rigging the polls. The IEBC chairman’s statistics were deemed “null and void” by him.
“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.