High Court to decide Kethi’s fate Friday

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 16 – Kethi Kilonzo will know this Friday whether or not she will contest the Makueni Senate by-election.

Justice Richard Mwongo, Mumbi Ngugi and Weldon Korir gave the date after hearing over five hours of submissions on Tuesday from the petitioners, respondents and other interested parties.

Kethi, the daughter of the late Senator Mutula Kilonzo, wants the High Court to order her inclusion on the ballot for the July 26 mini-poll after the IEBC locked her out since she is not ‘a registered voter’.

The question of jurisdiction dominated the hearing of the petition which Kethi and the Wiper Democratic Movement have filed against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

While the petitioners contested that the IEBC Nominations Dispute Resolution Committee had no jurisdiction to hear complaints concerning Kethi’s registration as a voter, the respondents countered that the committee acted within its mandate when it found her not to be a registered voter and ordered the revocation of her nomination certificate.

“This is an appeal disguised as a petition,” counsel for the IEBC Paul Nyamodi said while citing Article 88 sub-article 4(e) of the constitution.

“It bestows on the IEBC the exclusive mandate to hear and determine all disputes without reservation arising during the electoral process before a declaration by the returning officer,” he expounded.

Mwangi Kigotho representing John Kihiko, one of the interested parties, went on to state that the High Court itself did not have the jurisdiction to rule on whether or not Kethi is a registered voter.

On behalf of the petitioners however, Senior Counsel James Orengo said the committee could not have been acting in accordance with the law as it could not be said to have been independent.

He went on to state that the committee could not claim to be exercising its appellate role as no complaint, written or otherwise was made to the Makueni Returning Officer Salad Boru at the time of issuing nomination certificates.

“It may have taken a long time to clear her but no complaints were made,” Orengo said.

Orengo’s argument was countered by Nyamodi who said by Kethi’s own admission, a concern had been raised by The National Alliance on June 24 over her voter registration status.

The High Court will decide whether or not to dismiss Kethi’s petition with just a week to spare before the by-election.


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