All respondents in the nine petitions challenging the election of William Ruto as the fifth President of Kenya filed their final responses at the Supreme Court on Sunday, August 28, which was the final day to do so.
It followed a week-long process which started on Monday, August 22, after Raila Odinga and Martha Karua filed their petition.
On Monday, August 29, however, will see the Supreme Court start the process of consolidating the petitions ahead of the status conference and the hearing of the matter.
The next step according to the timelines for presidential election petition is "response to interlocutory application" at the Supreme Court which should be done by Monday, August 29.
What does it mean?
Interlocutory proceedings in relation to the previous election petition before the court refers to proceedings that deal with the rights of the parties, both the plaintiff and defendant in the interval between the commencement of the civil action and its final determination - before the court delivers the final judgment.
The stage in this case takes a period of 24 hours. According to the Supreme Court miscellaneous application No.7 (E011) of 2021, an interlocutory application must be based on an existing petition or reference.
"An interlocutory application shall not be originated before a petition of appeal or a reference is filed with the Court," reads the law in part.
Some common interlocutory applications are application for extension of time for complying with certain directions under the rules of court or a court order and application for striking out a particular pleading or part of the pleading of the other party.
Other applications at this stage are application for amendment to the pleadings, and application for documents to be disclosed from the other party.
For example, in a case involving the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) against Chrysanthus Barnabus Okemo & 4 others in 2018, the court clarified that;
"The upshot is that without a petition of appeal having been first filed in this Court, this application was predicated on nothing. It had no foundation upon which to stand and it was a nullity ab initio. The same should not have been accepted for filing. As the application was a nullity, the proceedings therein were also a nullity and we so declare them.”
After interlocutory applications, a pre-trial conference will commence on Tuesday, August 30, which falls on eighth day from the date of filing the presidential election petition.
A pre-trial hearing is a meeting of the defense, the prosecution, and the judge before a trial commences.
Immediately after the pre-trial conference, hearing of the petition will take place at the Supreme Court by the 7-Judge bench led by the Chief Justice, Martha Karambu Koome, after which a judgement will be delivered on or before Monday, September 5.