Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria has gone to court to contest the electoral commission’s decision to prevent civil officials from being picked as running mates in the upcoming elections.
The Commission’s decision to limit the selection of running mates within the primary sponsoring political or coalition party, is also another issue the Kiambu gubernatorial candidate wants addressed.
The MP claims that the conditions contradict the aspirants’ right to pick a running mate of their choosing.
He filed the petition after the Wafula Chebukati-led commission refused to allow the legislator nominate a civil servant as his running mate in the Kiambu governorship race.
The commission’s decision in Mr Kuria’s case could have ramifications for Raila Odinga, the leader of the Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya coalition party.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya was among those interested in being Mr Odinga’s running mate. But based on the IEBC decision, Mr Munya can no longer run alongside the former premier.
In court documents, the firebrand MP says the decision of the IEBC is based on provisions of section 43(5) of the Elections Act.
The said section states that “a public officer who intends to contest an election under this act shall resign from public office at least six months before the date of election”.
In a letter dated April 22, 2022, the IEBC notified him that a running mate could not be a government employee. Furthermore, the nominee must be a member of the sponsoring political party.
Should the running-mate nominee be employed by the government, the Commission stated that they must have resigned on or by February 9, 2022, which is six months before the August 9 General Election. Aspirants must nominate someone who complies with section 43(5) of the Elections Act, read the letter.
Mr Kuria claims that the IEBC is interfering with the governors and presidential candidates’ right to nominate running mates.
“The response of IEBC meant that my choices of a running mate are very limited and it also denied me the opportunity to nominate a well deserving candidate on the basis of him/her not having complied with the said provisions of Elections Act,” the lawmaker states.
Further, he argues, the electoral commission’s decision is outside the law as “Article 180(6) of the Constitution gives the Governor aspirant the prerogative of appointing a running who shall not be subjected to election process by the electoral body”.
According to him, the Commission’s response implies that a running mate must have resigned six months before the polls in anticipation of being nominated.
“The right to political interaction is one of the major pillars of any modern society. The discrimination in Section 43(5) of the Elections Act is absurd for it does not disclose the criteria on how a running mate should be nominated and it also determines that a person should resign on presumption of being nominated as a running mate,” he continues.
He wants the court to declare that the aforementioned section of the law is unconstitutional. He has also asked the court to impose an injunction prohibiting IEBC from requiring him to submit a running mate/deputy governor from a limited pool of candidates while the case is being heard.
Presidential and gubernatorial candidates have until May 16 to submit names of their running mates.