, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 11 – Despite Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka’s outward show of confidence that they need no plan B in Makueni, an application in the High Court wants the IEBC compelled to allow the party nominate another candidate, in the event Kethi Kilonzo is not reinstated to contest the July 26 Senate seat by-election.
In its petition to the High Court, Wiper argued that if the gazette notice that locked them out of the by-election is not quashed, the constitutional right to free and fair elections will have been violated.
“To exclude a political party from the process would undermine the constitutional underpinnings of democracy upon which the state is founded,” the petition reads.
The party therefore wants the by-election not only postponed but stopped until such a time as they are able to field an alternative candidate should the High Court fail to reverse the order by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s Nominations Dispute Resolution Committee that Kethi’s nomination certificate be revoked.
“There is no prejudice in stopping the by-election as it concerns only one county. On the other hand, unless the by-election is stopped now that the official campaign period is underway the second petitioner (Wiper) will be effectively robbed of its right to competitively participate,” the party states in its petition.
Wiper also took on the role of advocate for its supporters and appealed for the court to protect their right to elect a leader of their choosing as enshrined in Article 38 of the Constitution.
“The supporters of the second petitioner have been and will be disenfranchised and denied their right to make political choices and to campaign for and elect a candidate of their choice under the party,” the party stated.
The party accused the IEBC Nominations Dispute Resolution Committee that revoked Kethi’s nomination certificate in the belief that she is not a registered voter, of having already skewed the by-election in their competitors’ favour.
“The second petitioner’s right under Article 27 of the constitution has been contravened in that the first respondent (IEBC) has applied itself and the law selectively to further the cause of the Jubilee Alliance at a rival political party against the second petitioner’s political endeavours,” the petition reads.
Political parties had been given until June 5 to nominate their candidates, the date meeting the Election Act requirement that nominations be concluded 45 days before the election date.
The Election Act stipulates that a political party’s nominee can indeed be replaced should they contravene the Electoral Code of Conduct but only before the presentation of nomination certificates.
The bid to replace Kethi by Wiper therefore, is at best a long shot.