NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 2 – The Supreme Court has barred the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) from declaring the Meru gubernatorial seat vacant or holding elections, pending the hearing and determination of a petition filed by ousted Governor, Peter Munya.
Justice Jackton Ojwang and Smokin Wanjala also blocked the Speaker of the County Assembly in Meru from assuming office as acting Governor.
“A conservatory order shall be ordered against the IEBC setting in motion the process for gubernatorial elections in Meru County pending the hearing and determination of the applicant’s appeal,” Ojwang stated.
When giving the ruling, the judges explained that the court took the decision in the interest of the public whose hard-earned taxes would be spent on a by-election that may turn out to be unnecessary.
“Our conscientious sense of proportions stands not in favour of allowing conduct of fresh elections of Meru County’s gubernatorial office during the pendency of an appeal,” Ojwang said.
He and Justice Wanjala gave the ruling after finding that Munya’s appeal, challenging the Court of Appeals decision to nullify his election as Meru Governor, was properly before them.
“The applicant’s notice of motion dated March 20, 2014 is allowed. Secondly, the first respondent’s notice of preliminary objection on the March 21, 2014 is disallowed,” they ordered.
They then directed the court registrar to arrange for the expedient hearing of the appeal and asked the Chief Justice to empanel a full bench to that end.
Munya welcomed the ruling in its entirety and especially the conservatory orders the Supreme Court issued against the Meru County Assembly Speaker assuming the office of Governor.
“I’m taking my flight to go to the (devolution) conference in Mombasa tomorrow so I’ve started working. Indeed there were already interim orders that were there before but they have been strengthened by very very clear and specific orders that I’m in office until this matter is heard and determined,” he said immediately following the ruling.
The Court of Appeal nullified Munya’s March 4, 2013 General Election win last month after finding that the High Court erred when it declared him validly elected in September last year.