Kamukunji mini poll slated for Aug 18

August 2, 2011 3:34 pm
IIEC Chairman Isaack Hassan/ File

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 2- Voters in Kamukunji will elect their new Member of Parliament on August 18.

The Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) made the announcement on Tuesday following a Court of Appeal ruling on July 29 lifting an injunction that stopped the electoral body from conducting the by-election.

During Friday’s ruling the High Court was faulted for issuing the order on the eve of the poll knowing that the move would deny IIEC a chance to appeal.

Immediately after the ruling, lawyer Pherozee Norwojee – representing the IIEC – said that the commission would proceed with eight candidates that had been nominated for the by-election.

The case stopping the by election had been filed by businessman Waweru Mwangi of the National Vision Party who argued that he was unfairly blocked by the IIEC from handing in his nomination papers.

While making the ruling to stop the by election Justice Daniel Musinga ruled that the nomination process was flawed as it locked out a candidate.

“The IIEC through its Returning Officer violated the petitioner’s fundamental rights to be a candidate for Kamukunji by-election. Failure to uphold the rule of law is a serious offence,” he had said in the ruling.

“Every person has a right to administrative action. And those actions would lead to an election process that is not transparent and easily lead to chaos,” he added.

However Justice Musinga’s ruling was criticised by several politicians including Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo who argued that the ruling was misinformed.

Mr Kilonzo explained that a court could not nullify an election process after its scheduled date had been announced by the electoral body.

He added that Justice Musinga should have waited for the outcome of the by election before allowing the petitioner to file his application.

The Kamukunji by-election had initially been slated for May 23 together with that for Ikolomani.

“The Kamukunji ruling was a disaster and it makes no sense. All countries recognise that the only organ that can stop an election is the election body; not a judge,” Mr Mutula had said.

“And even if the judge thinks I am in contempt of court, I dare him because I have to say this as the legal policy for this country,” he added.

Yusuf Hassan (PNU), Ahmed Ibrahim alias Johnnie (ODM), Brian Weke (Narc-Kenya), Paul Mwangi (National Vision Party), Catherine Muthoni Kihara (GNU), James Matagaro (Kenya Social Congress), David Waihiga (Agano) and Daniel Omao (Ford People) will be contesting for the Kamukunji seat.

The by election was as a result of a successful petition against immediate former MP Simon Mbugua filed by Mr Johnnie and Mr Hassan.

Mr Mbugua will however not defend his seat as he was locked out of the polls after losing PNU’s nomination to Mr Hassan.

Mr Hassan is a former journalist and UN official and has been using his work experience and education to woo voters. However, opponents accuse him of being an “outsider” with little interest of the locals at heart.

Mr Ahmed, a businessman, boasts of being born and bred in Kamukunji and wants voters to make it right as he alleges that his votes were stolen in the 2007 polls. Reports also indicate Mr Mbugua is quietly campaigning for Mr Ahmed.

Ms Muthoni was first elected as a councilor for Bahati in 1992 at the age of 22 and her supporters say she is the best as she understands local issues having been bred there.

Mr Weke, a former tout turned human rights campaigner also comes from Jerusalem and has urged residents to vote for him, promising development and a fight against land grabbing.


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