Five-judge bench to determine Uhuru, Ruto eligibility,Raila, Kalonzo cleared
The fate of Jubilee presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto to contest in the General Election is in the hands of five High Court judges.
Justices Mbogholi Msagha, Luka Kimaru, George Kimondo, Pauline Nyamweya and Hellen Omondi were handed the task of determining the integrity of the two to contest the county’s top leadership despite facing charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.
The judges cleared Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his United Democratic Forum (UDF) counterpart Musalia Mudavadi after their names were struck off the petition.
And to show the seriousness and urgency the judges want to determine the petitions, they directed all parties to file their submissions by Friday failure to which they will be struck out and assumed to have withdrawn their interest in the proceedings.
“Time is of essence and we will only allow highlighting of the written submissions. We will only have a one-day hearing on February 6 so parties must ensure they put all their documents together,” said Judge Msagha.
The judges allowed a request by The National Alliance (TNA) to give it time to allow Mr Kenyatta present his nomination papers to the IEBC before filing a response.
Mr Odinga, his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka and Mr Mudavadi’s names were struck off after the petitioner who challenged their integrity said he was unable to serve them with the suit papers and was no longer interested in having them defend themselves in the case.
The Public Corruption, Ethics and Governance Watch lobby group and activist Charles Mwangi sought to bar Mr Odinga, Mr Musyoka and Mr Mudavadi from seeking public office on claims that their candidature contravened Chapter Six of the Constitution on leadership and integrity.
The lobby wanted Mr Odinga barred over allegations of fraudulently acquiring his post-graduate degree in Germany, being involved in events that caused the 2007/08 post-election violence and the attempted military coup of 1982.
Against Mr Musyoka, they alleged he used his office to acquire radio frequencies for a company owned by his wife and for authorising the sale of the Somali embassy in Nairobi while Mr Mudavadi was accused of lying about his role in the Goldenberg scandal and for grabbing land owned by the City Council of Nairobi.
The five-judge bench will now determine the petitions by the International Centre for Policy and Conflict, Kenya Human Rights Commission, and International Centre for Jurists over the suitability of Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto.
The lobbyists wants the two barred from contesting arguing that Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto presence at The Hague to attend trial would hinder them from discharging their duties effectively and want IEBC barred from accepting the candidature of any person facing a criminal case whose sentence is at least six months.
They are also seeking a court declaration that the candidature of Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto despite facing charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC) is a threat to the Constitution and a perpetuation of a culture of impunity.
According to the groups, a leader is contemplated to be someone who carries dignity, legitimacy and has the people’s trust and confidence and that electing any person committed to trial would bring dishonour to the office and seriously affect the person’s ability to discharge his duties.
The hearing is scheduled for February 6.