NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 18 – The Electoral Code of Conduct Enforcement Committee sitting at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre Tuesday listened to 18 disputes presented before it by different candidates.
Chaired by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati, the committee heard cases that mainly revolved around defacing of political communication materials and infringement of party symbols and colours.
Joshua Irungu, Jubilee Party’s (JP) gubernatorial candidate for Laikipia County accused his opponent Nderitu Mureithi whom he defeated in the primaries for what he called as “misrepresentation of facts with an intention to confuse the voters.”
“Despite losing, Hon Nderitu has continued to use the name, the colours, even the symbols of the Jubilee Party especially in his posters,” claimed Irungu through his advocate.
However, responding to the accusations levelled against him, Mureithi defended his actions saying that Article 36 of the Constitution, freedom of association, gives him liberty to associate with anyone.
“Mureithi has a right to associate with any presidential candidate of his choice. This is granted to him by article 36 of the Constitution under the freedom of association,” he asserted through his lawyer.
He further went on to defend himself, saying President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto has openly associated with him when they visit the county on their campaign trail.
“The president and his deputy have openly campaigned with Mureithi. In fact, several parties endorsed the re election of Kenyatta. How then do you stop them from using his image?” posed Mureithi’s advocate.
Irungu is the first Governor of Laikipia County. He was elected in Kenya’s general Elections of 2013 under the Jubilee Coalition party TNA.
Mureithi is the former Laikipia West Constituency Member of Parliament and is currently vying as an independent candidate for Laikipia governor’s seat.
Mureithi lost to the incumbent Irungu in the Jubilee primaries.
Some of the disputes that the committee heard included Ibrahim Memba verses Moses Akaranga in the race for the Vihiga governorship.
Senator Elizabeth Ongoro and MP Tom Kajwang’; both of whom are contesting the Ruaraka seat also appeared to defend themselves against allegations levelled against them Aaron Masika of the National Vision Party.
The Committee is set to make rulings on the Irungu versus Mureithi case on Thursday at 2pm.