Aspirant wants petition fee scrapped

June 16, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 16 – Magarini Parliamentary seat loser Franco Esposito is asking the High Court to scrap the mandatory Sh250,000 security deposit required of an election petitioner claiming the fee is unconstitutional.

His lawyer Cecil Miller told a constitutional court on Tuesday that the requirement undermines an average Kenyan’s right to file a petition and thereby locking such one from accessing justice.

“It is irrational and against the constitutional rights of the petitioner when he is required to deposit such a huge amount of money within three days of filing a petition. Where would an average Kenyan raise such funds?” Mr Miller posed.

The lawyer told Justices Roselyn Wendoh and George Dulu that in ordinary circumstances, it would take a Kenyan of average means 50 months to raise the quarter of a million shillings.

“The Sh250,000 is against public interest and should be totally scrapped. The public interest in this matter would be for the petition to be heard,” Mr Miller told the court.

Magarini MP Amerson Jeffah Kingi has opposed the application by Mr Esposito saying if allowed it would cause chaos in the country since everyone would rush to court and challenge elections on flimsy grounds.

“If we allow it we could be perpetually involved in election petitions. Therefore the deposit is a necessary tool,” said Mr Kingi’s lawyer.

Mr Esposito is challenging the election of Mr Kingi, who is the East African Community Minister.

Mr Esposito lost to Mr Kingi on a Party of National Unity ticket. The Cabinet Minister clinched victory through the Orange Democratic Movement, winning with a margin of 146 votes after late results tilted the outcome in his favour.

Mr Esposito, who has been nicknamed Kasoso wa Baya by locals, led at almost all polling centres before the final results were announced by Returning Officer Amina Kale at Mapimo Polytechnic. Those results declared Mr Kingi the winner with 6,600 votes against Mr Esposito’s 6,454 votes.


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