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Mariga Faces Fresh Hurdle As Kibra Voter Moves To High Court To Stop Ballot Printing Exercise

President Kenyatta endorsing McDonald Mariga at State House Nairobi [Photo/Courtesy]

Jubilee candidate in the forthcoming Kibra by-election McDonald Mariga is facing a fresh hurdle in his bid to succeed late MP Ken Okoth.

This is after a voter in the Kibra constituency moved to court to challenge the legality of his nomination as Jubilee candidate in the Kibra by-election.

Citing erroneous process in verifying the football star’s voter status by the Independent and Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Leina Konchella, wants the High Court to stop printing of ballot papers for the poll scheduled for November 7 until her petition is heard and determined.

“This Honourable Court be pleased to issue a conservatory order restraining the 1st respondent [IEBC] whether by itself, its agents, its servants or otherwise howsoever from printing ballot papers,” the suit reads.

The voter has listed IEBC, Mariga, Kibra Constituency Returning Officer and the Jubilee Party as the respondents.

Ms Konchella, argues that IEBC’s Dispute and Resolution Committee chaired by Wafula Chebukati erred when it cleared Mariga.

Read: IEBC Tribunal Clears Jubilee’s Mariga To Contest In Kibra By-election

In the petition, Konchella, through Odindo & Company Advocates, states that Mariga is not dully registered as a voter and “has questionable integrity.”

“This decision violates the Article 99 (a) and (b) of the Constitution in that it has enabled second Respondent (Mariga), who is not a registered voter and has questionable integrity to participate in the said by-elections,” she states in the petition.

The voter claims that there is a possibility Mariga forged the documents he presented before IEBC.

She argues that it’s not possible that Mariga who was born in 1987 sat for his KCSE exams in 2002, at the age of 15.

“It’s apparent that either the 2nd respondent’s National Identity Card or his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education is not genuine. This is clearly an issue of integrity that called for determination by the 1st respondent who possesses constitutional competency to determine all issues of eligibility of candidates.”

On Monday, IEBC disputes tribunal cleared Mariga to contest in the mini-polls on a Jubilee ticket.

Read Also: Khalwale Criticized For Claiming Mariga Unfairly Locked Out Of Kibra Race

The tribunal, composed of Chebukati and Commissioners Boya Molu and Prof. Abdi Guliye ruled that Mariga was duly registered as a voter.

“The complainant is duly registered as a voter. The respondent’s decision of September 10, 2019, declining the nomination of the complainant on account that he was not registered as a voter is hereby set aside,” said Chebukati.

He had been barred from contesting on grounds that he was not a registered voter.

This was after Kibra constituency RO Beatrice Muli found his name missing from the 2017 voter register on Tuesday, last week.

Chebukati on Monday directed Ms Muli to process Mariga’s application ahead of the mini-polls.

Read Also: President Uhuru Meets Mariga, Assures Him Of Full Support In Race For Kibra Seat (Photos)

“The respondent is hereby ordered to process the complainant’s application for nomination as the Jubilee Party’s candidate for the Kibra constituency by-election slated for Nov 7, 2019 in accordance with the law. Each party shall bear their own costs, ” Chebukati added.

If the court allows Mariga to be on the ballot, he will face ODM’s Benard Otieno Okoth alias Imran, Amani National Congress’ Eliud Owala, Editar Achieng of Ukweli Party, Ford Kenya’s Khamisi Butichi and a number of independent candidates contesting for the seat.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi declared the Kibra constituency seat vacant on August 14 following the demise of Ken Okoth.

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Written by Wycliffe Nyamasege

Email news@kahawatungu.com

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