BY NT CORRESPONDENT.
Kiambaa MP Njuguna Wanjiku can now breathe easy after a man who had challenged his election indicated his intention to withdraw the case.
Wanjiku defeated eight other rivals in the Kiambaa by-election on a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party ticket.
His election was, however challenged George Thata Ndia claimed that the Jubilee candidate, Wanjiku Kariri Njama, was the duly elected member and that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) wrongly announced Njuguna as winner.
According to the declaration by the IEBC at the tallying centre Karuri high school, Njuguna garnered 21,773 votes while Njama followed closely with 21,263 votes.
The petition was filed on July 29 2021 through lawyer Njoki Mboce seeking to nullify the UDA MP’s win in the hotly contested by election on grounds of election malpractices.
When the matter came up for hearing yesterday, Justice Grace Nzioka, asked the parties to follow due process in regard to withdrawal.
Lawyers representing IEBC, a returning officer and Wanjiku confirmed they had received the notice of the intended withdrawal.
“We wish to confirm that we were served with the intention to withdraw, however we were ready to proceed,” IEBC lawyer Julius Anyoka told the judge.
The lawyer said that although they were served, it was procedural for the petitioner to first place an advertisement- of his intended to withdraw the case, in the newspapers before seeking to be heard.
Anyoka said the legal procedures of termination require the advert goes first before a request is heard and determined by the trial court whether to allow or disqualify the intention to withdraw.
“In the absence of the advert it will be premature for us to proceed to hear the application for withdrawal,” Anyoka said.
Njuguna’s lawyer, Hillary Sigei, supported Anyoka and added that the “costs of withdrawal” should also be addressed in due course.
The judge concurred that the intended withdrawal should be brought to the attention of the public through a newspaper advert as stipulated in the constitution.
Judge Nzioka ruled that the advert serves as an invite to the public to allow any other member of the public who may want to substitute the petitioner to revive the petition.
Lawyer Mboce said she had been following the process of withdrawal through the Deputy Registrar of the High Court whose approval precedes the publication of the intention to withdraw in a newspaper of national reach.
The judge ruled that the advert should be out within 7 days before the request for withdrawal is heard and determined as it is “a matter of public interest.”
Thata says in his papers that his intention to withdraw is pegged on his desire to “let Kiamba people take part in the ongoing voter registration exercise.”
The judge has directed the Deputy Registrar to act expeditiously according to the provision of the constitution.
She directed the parties to return to court on November 12 2021 for hearing of the intended withdrawal.
The petitioner had averred that the correct tally of the votes returned Njama as the winner and accused IEBC of election malpractices.
He had wanted a recount of the votes cast and re-tallying of all votes as recorded.