Fresh bid to bar 5 top contenders from poll

November 30, 2012 3:55 pm


Mwangi is also now seeking to block Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Deputy Prime Ministers Kenyatta and Musalia Mudavadi together with Ruto/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 30 – A fresh suit has been filed in court by an activist seeking to block five leading presidential candidates from seeking the top job in the 2013 general election.

The suit which was filed by Charles Ndung’u Mwangi from the Public Corruption and Governance Watch comes barely a day after another case challenging the eligibility of the Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP Ruto to run for political office was withdrawn for ‘tactical’ reasons.

Mwangi is also now seeking to block Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Deputy Prime Ministers Kenyatta and Musalia Mudavadi together with Ruto.

Mwangi wants Odinga barred for his alleged role in the failed coup attempt in 1982, his lack of clear academic credentials and the alleged grabbing of Kisumu’s Molasses plant among others.

The petitioner insists that Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka should be locked out the presidency for his alleged involvement in land grabbing.

He claims that the VP had been found guilty of contempt of court and fraud in a High Court criminal case in 1990.

For Deputy Prime Minister Mudavadi, the activist is basing his objections on claims that he lied to the Goldenberg Commission of Inquiry on his role in the scandal.

He is also accused of turning a blind eye to the multi-million shilling cemetery scandal at City Hall while he was the Local Government Minister.

Ndung’u also holds that Kenyatta and Ruto should be barred due to crimes against humanity cases they are facing before the International Criminal Court.

Earlier on Friday, the International Centre for Policy on Conflict (ICPC) filed a petition seeking an interpretation from the court whether a person who faces international crimes can seek or hold a public office.

“A person committed to be tried at The Hague would not be able to properly discharge his or her duties as a public or State officer, because they’d be required to attend hearings at the ICC on a full time basis,” the petition read in part.

“Such a person would bring dishonour to the office and erode public confidence in their ability to perform their public duties, because the process of the trial would lead to issuance of warrants of arrest of a sitting public officer and this would erode the country’s sovereignty.”

The ICPC is also seeking interpretation whether the confirmation of charges against Kenyatta and Ruto would be a threat to the Kenyan Constitution.

ICPC wants the court to determine if the presumption of innocence in favour of the two politicians overrides the overwhelming public interest to protect the Constitution.

In August, Odinga, Musyoka and Mudavadi were enjoined in a case filed by eight civil society activists who raised questions on their integrity as well as that of Ruto and Kenyatta.

The petitioners (Patrick Njuguna, Agostino Netto and Charles Omanga) wanted the court to stop the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission from accepting nomination papers for the five presidential hopefuls whose integrity is being questioned.

After filing the initial case against Kenyatta and Ruto, the applicants wanted Odinga, Mudavadi and Musyoka enjoined in the suit after linking them to various offences including land grabbing, the 1982 aborted coup and the Goldenberg scandal of the 1990s.

The High Court however struck out the names of Odinga, Musyoka and Mudavadi from the case saying that the matter was an abuse of the judicial process, since the names were added without following due process.

On Thursday, when the case against Kenyatta and Ruto was to be first heard – the activists through advocate Ambrose Weda told a three-judge bench that the issue of integrity could not be addressed fully if other presidential aspirants were not part of the lawsuit.

“Two months ago, the court struck out the names of the five people who wanted to be brought in so that the issue of integrity is dealt with once and for all and Kenyans go for election knowing what kind of leaders they have. As of today, the only respondent we had was the Attorney General,” they said.

They were expected to file what they term as “the mother of all petitions” that will encompass all presidential candidates.


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