, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 19 – The judgment the High Court will issue on Friday will either summarily dismiss Kethi Kilonzo’s ambition to take over from her late father as Makueni Senator or guarantee her name on the ballot.
The ruling the three judge bench composed of Justice Richard Mwongo, Mumbi Ngugi and Weldon Korir will give will set a precedent as far as nomination disputes filed against members of parties go.
Kethi wants the High Court to quash an order by the IEBC’s Nominations Dispute Resolution Committee that barred her from contesting the July 26 Makueni by-election after it found she is not a registered voter.
Her petition seeks “an order of certiorari to quash the decision and the gazette notice of July 8 naming the candidates in the by-election to the exclusion of the petitioners.”
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has on the other hand urged the High Court to dismiss the petition.
“The petition herein should be dismissed, with costs, as they constitute an appeal to this honourable court from the decision of the second respondent (the Nominations Dispute Resolution Committee), which appeal does not lie,” the IEBC submits.
The IEBC bases its submission on the argument that contrary to Kethi’s petition, the Nominations Dispute Resolution Committee had the jurisdiction to make a determination on her voter registration status.
A jurisdiction they submit, does not lie with the High Court, “Your lordships, we submit that the court’s proper mandate in hearing and determining the present petition is limited to a review of the process of the second respondent in arriving at its determination, and not a review of the decision of the second respondent in finding that the first petitioner is not a registered voter, and hence not eligible to vie for the seat of Senator of Makueni County.”
The IEBC submission instead recommends that the matter be referred back to the Nominations Dispute Resolution Committee should the High Court find Kethi did not receive a fair hearing the first time round:
“If persuaded that that the second respondent, in respect of the substance of this petition, did not discharge its constitutional mandate or that it discharged its said mandate in a manner that was irregular or unacceptable, then this Honourable Court should refer the dispute back to the second respondent with instructions as to how the second respondent should discharge its above stated constitutional mandate.”
This is however unlikely to be the case given the constitutional time constraints the IEBC is working under as the last possible date on which it can hold the by-election is July 27, only eight days away.
It is also unlikely that the High Court will grant the Wiper Democratic Movement’s prayer, on whose ticket Kethi was vying, that they be allowed to nominate another candidate if Kethi is not cleared.
Prior to the Nominations Dispute Resolution Committee ruling, Kethi told Capital FM News that she was not nervous but given this may be her very last chance at a reprieve, she could very well be twiddling her thumbs.