, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 19 – Kethi Kilonzo’s legal team might be reeling from two losses in under two weeks but they maintain that they may be down but not out.
Whilst coming short of saying they will appeal the High Court ruling that dismissed Kethi’s bid to vie for the July 26 Makueni Senate by-election, Senior Counsel James Orengo said.
“I can tell you the Kethi issue is not over because we feel that we had very strong legal and constitutional grounds in regard to her case and that we still feel very strongly that the IEBC was being the accused person, the prosecutor, the judge and the executioner.”
The Wiper Democratic Movement has in the meantime settled on Kethi’s brother Mutula Kilonzo Jr to contest the poll.
Kethi’s lawyer Julie Soweto, though disheartened by the ruling, agreed with Orengo that it was as much an indictment of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission as it was of Kethi.
“One of the most important points for me in this ruling is that the court actually held that the IEBC misconducted itself and it is for that reason that the Wiper party still has an opportunity to field a candidate.”
“On that point alone we disagree with the court that it did not find that that misconduct actually also affected Kethi Kilonzo,” she said.
Kethi’s legal team therefore, Soweto said, was afforded options by the chastisement of the IEBC by the panel of three High Court judges who heard their petition.
“And for that reason we have options to consider. That misconduct not only affected Wiper party but also Ms Kethi Kilonzo herself. It has to cut both ways,” she added.
The IEBC did indeed come under fire as Justice Richard Mwongo, Mumbi Ngugi and Weldon Korir castigated it for not resolving the dispute over Kethi’s registration as a voter before it escalated into a legal battle.
“We are of the view that the IEBC mishandled its constitutional mandate with regard to Ms Kilonzo’s registration status. It could have exercised greater diligence given all the powers and information in its possession to establish early enough her registration status. Instead of doing that it sat back and watched as the tragic events shown in these proceedings played out. That was a blot on its constitutional mandate,” Mwongo read out.
Despite the dress down, the commission’s legal representative Kimani Muhoro welcomed the ruling.
Soweto’s team is now awaiting the certified ruling in order to chart the way forward, “We will go and study the ruling and then we will know what to do. One must make an informed decision,” Soweto said.
Kethi is as yet to weigh in on the ruling herself and was notably absent from the courtroom as she was on July 8 when the IEBC Nominations Dispute Resolution Committee gave its damning verdict.