NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 29 – The Judiciary says those disgruntled with the outcome of nomination disputes can still seek redress in the courts after exhausting all other avenues of resolving their complaints.
Justice David Maranga of the Court of Appeal who is also the vice-chairman of the Judicial Working Committee on Elections gave the edict after a meeting with Chief Justice Willy Mutunga on Tuesday morning.
“The court will deal with those petitions when they come as long as they are well grounded in law. When they come to the High Court they will look at whether those are matters that the High Court should deal with.”
“They can only come by way of an appeal but there are provisions to deal with that. They are supposed to have started with the political parties themselves then come to the political parties’ tribunal then the court.”
In the event that petitions are filed with the High Court by political aspirants who were unsuccessful in the nominations, the court will ensure the cases are handled with expediency so as not to interfere with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) timeline.
“The Judiciary is quite aware of the deadlines the IEBC has to meet so somebody coming and saying he wants and injunction and all that, the court will deal with that case on its merits but the courts are aware of the deadlines that we have to meet.”
The IEBC National Dispute Resolution Committee gave its rulings on Monday after three days of hearing over 200 nomination disputes.
They included complaints challenging the nominations of political big wigs such as Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang’ and the Orange Democratic Movement’s Chief Whip Jakoyo Midiwo but the committee ruled in their favour.
There was also controversy surrounding The National Alliance’s (TNA) Othaya constituency candidature, with businesswoman Mary Wambui and Mugambi Gichuki bearing knuckles over the party nomination.
Gichuki challenged Wambui’s win through the party’s dispute resolution mechanisms but she moved to the committee fearing her name had been struck off the TNA nomination list.
Wambui eventually won the day with Gichuki withdrawing his objection to her nomination after her lawyer Cecil Miller and TNA entered into consent to settle the matter.
Political parties had until 5pm on January 21 to resolve any disputes that arose from their nominations before the IEBC National Dispute Resolution Committee stepped in to arbitrate.
The meeting chaired by the Chief Justice was also attended by the Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo and the Ombudsman Otiende Amollo.
The IEBC was conspicuously absent at the meeting called by Chief Justice to assess the country’s preparedness for the March 4 General Election.
“We were discussing our election preparedness as institutions that are so critical in ensuring that the elections will be peaceful free and fair,” CJ Mutunga said.
“This was a great meeting addressed by the Inspector General (of police) and Otiende Amollo who chairs the committee for all independent commissions. The only critical institution that didn’t actually show up is the IEBC.”
The institutions present resolved that they would be ‘open’ regarding any challenges they might face in the run up to, during and after the elections the Chief Justice pledged.
“Let Kenyans know what the challenges are because there are challenges that I think the country ought to know.”