, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 4 – Former Youth Enterprise Development Fund Chairman Gor Semelang’o has lost his bid to contest the August 11 Mathare by-election.
The High Court ruled that Semelang’o was not eligible to vie since he did not vacate public office six months to the by-election as required by law.
Semelang’o was seeking orders to compel the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to allow him contest in the poll, arguing that he was locked out unfairly.
Semelang’o had argued that the law used to bar him from contesting because he did not resign six months to the by-election, did not apply to him because he was instead sacked.
Before the ruling, Semelang’o who was hopeful of vying for the seat had posted on his Facebook page: “Court ruling by Justice Ngugi Mumbi expected @9.30 am Milimani Law courts. (Now reciting our national anthem) May justice be our shield and defender.”
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission which had initially set the by-election for August 7 postponed it to August 11 following a court order last week to include former Kasarani MP William Omondi in the ballot.
Omondi had been barred from contesting on grounds that he was a life member of the Orange Democratic Movement party, but Justice Isaac Lenaola ruled that the commission had no grounds to lock out the former legislator who is vying as an independent candidate.
After the IEBC’s decision to bar him from vying, Semelang’o said ODM may have influenced its decision.
“I am seeing ODM’s hand in this,” he had said, insisting; “I have grounds to contest this decision because it is not fair at all.”
According to Semelang’o, the law barring a State officer from contesting an election without resigning six months in advance could not apply to him because he was dismissed from office.
“There is no way I could have resigned prior to the by-election six months earlier because I was sacked,” he had argued. “My fundamental rights have been violated.”
Semelang’o was fired by Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru under unexplained circumstances and the position taken over by Bruce Odhiambo.
He had chaired the board since January 16, 2013 when he was appointed by former President Mwai Kibaki.
Semelang’o still had two more years left to serve as per the gazette notice that formalised his appointment.
His sacking drew uproar from a section of leaders who felt he was unfairly targeted by the current regime.