NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 19 – The chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Issack Hassan and CEO James Oswago were on Tuesday saved the burden of personally appearing in court at ongoing contempt proceedings against the IEBC, after the High Court granted their plea.
High Court judge Eric Ogola directed that the two be exempted from the proceedings to concentrate on election preparation matters with only 12 days left to the polls.
“The chairman and the CEO need not to be here for the hearings tomorrow (Wednesday) for as long as they are represented by an official who can ably depend on the facts contained in the affidavit submitted by the chairman,” directed Justice Ogola.
Both Hassan and Oswago spent Tuesday afternoon at the Milimani Law Courts where they had been summoned in a case where the IEBC is accused of refusing to comply with a court order issued last week.
The electoral body was ordered to include the name of Julius Mabanga among candidates contesting the Kuria East parliamentary seat after the court overturned a decision by IEBC to include his rival Mark Chacha.
The IEBC through lawyer Paul Nyamodi sought that Hassan be exempted from the proceedings and be replaced by another competent official of the commission to explain why the IEBC had not included Mabanga on the ballot as ordered on Valentine’s day.
Nyamodi however did not succeed in getting an affidavit sworn by Hassan withdrawn, after the petitioner through lawyer Muriuki Mugambi said that it contained errors of facts and was misleading.
Mugambi had sought that the IEBC chairman be cross-examined on the contents of his sworn affidavit for half an hour on Wednesday, as a means of putting sufficient pressure on the IEBC to comply with the orders issued last week.
The IEBC cleared Chacha although Mabanga claims he had received direct nomination from the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) after the chaotic party primaries in January.
Mabanga went to the High Court after the IEBC’s National Nominations Disputes Resolution Tribunal dismissed his complaint.
According to Mugambi, the IEBC was treating the court with ‘phenomenal contempt’ by refusing to print the about 26,000 ballot papers.
Two batches of ballot papers (for the presidential Gubernatorial and senatorial positions) have been received by the IEBC, while the remaining ballots are expected before February 26.