Chief Justice Willy Mutunga appoints three-judge bench to hear Kethi Kilonzo petition

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mutungaKENYA: Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has appointed a three-judge bench to hear a suit filed by Lawyer Kethi Kilonzo’s challenging the IEBC tribunal decision to lock her out of a by-election.

The CJ has picked High Court judges Richard Mwongo, Weldon Korir and Mumbi Ngugi to hear the case by Kethi challenging the IEBC’s Nominations Dispute Resolution Committee decision to disqualify her from contesting the Makueni By-election.

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While making the announcement Chief Registrar of Judiciary Gladys Shollei explained that the bench was constituted last Friday after Justice Isaac Lenaola who was handling the case requested the CJ to appoint the bench.

The bench which is expected to commence with the case on Monday is expected to have given their verdict by July 25 in order to pave way for the by-election to which is slated for July 26.

Lenaola who has disqualified himself from hearing the suit, had last week on Thursday ruled that the file be placed before the Chief Justice Willy Mutunga in order to constitute a three judge bench to handle the case.

“I direct that the parties that are involved in the suit be served within 48 hours. I also direct that the file be placed before the Chief Justice to constitute a three judge bench to hear the matter. The bench will exclude me,” he ruled.

It will now be upon the three judges to determine whether Kethi will be on the ballot in the by-election or they will uphold the ruling of the tribunal which will effectively block her attempt to succeed her late father Mutula Kilonzo.

While postponing the by-election Lenaola explained that it was necessary for the voting day to be pushed to allow all parties ample time to ventilate over the matter and enable the court to arrive at an informed.

Kethi has moved to the High Court challenging the IEBC’s tribunal decision to bar her from contesting in the by-election terming the decision as a violation of her fundamental rights as enshrined in the constitution.

Lenaola however declined Kethi’s prayer to stop the on-going campaigns and preparation for the by-election by the IEBC like the printing of the ballot papers saying that if the court ruled otherwise the electoral body had committed itself to have her name on the ballot.

The judge ruled that all the candidates in the by-election including Harun Mwau, Professor Philip Kaloki, Jane Wavinya Athanus Muthoka and the Narc party to be served with the documents to facilitate the commencing of the suit.

Lawyers Harun Ndumbi, Tom Kajwang and Julie Soweto led by James Orengo who is also the Siaya Senator represented the Wiper Democratic Movement Party and Kethi while Kimani Mohoro represented the IEBC and Paul Nyamodi represented the tribunal.-standardmedia.co.ke

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