NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 23 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Nominations Dispute Resolution Committee has dismissed a complaint that sought to bar Mutula Kilonzo Junior from contesting the Makueni Senate seat.
The committee chairman Thomas Letangule on Tuesday said that they do not have the jurisdiction to overturn the High Court ruling that allowed Mutula Jr to take part in Friday’s by-election.
“We (IEBC) received those nomination papers from the Wiper party and Mutula Kilonzo Junior as a result of a High Court order. It wasn’t a normal nomination process. We feel therefore that any aggrieved party to this nomination should resort to the High Court,” he directed.
The complainant Michael Horeria was, as can be expected, displeased by the dismissal and through his lawyer Clarence Jumba accused the IEBC Nominations Dispute Resolution Committee of denying him a fair hearing.
“In as far as the Elections Act is concerned, the IEBC has jurisdiction to deal with all matters with respect to nominations. I think what they just shied off from dealing with this issued that we had raised,” Jumba said.
In his complaint, Horeria accused the Makueni Returning Officer Salad Boru of contravening Section 13(3) of the Elections Act by awarding Mutula Jr a nomination certificate with just six days to the by-election.
“In the case of a by-election, the law requires that nominations take place at least 21 days prior to the casting of ballots and this cannot just be wished away. The commission might just be wasting tax payer money as these are strong grounds for the nullification of the results,” Jumba argued.
The lawyer also took issue with the fact that Wiper and Mutula Jr were not present for the reading of the ruling explaining that it denied his client a chance to counter their response to the complaint.
The dismissal of Horeria’s complaint comes hot on the heels of a Notice of Appeal filed by former politician Agnes Ndetei also challenging the legality of Mutula Jr’s nomination.
Ndetei has also based her appeal on Section 13 of the Election Act, more specifically sub-section 2 which states in part that: “A political party shall not change the candidate nominated after the nomination of that person has been received by the commission.”
Wiper has however countered that the law provides “that in the event of the death, resignation or incapacity of the nominated candidate or of the violation of the electoral code of conduct by the nominated candidate, the political party may after notifying the candidate that the party seeks to substitute, where applicable, substitute its candidate before the date of presentation of nomination papers to the commission.”
Jumba is however categorical that those extenuating circumstances do not apply in Mutula Jr’s case.