BY SAM ALFAN.
Evangelist Reuben Kigame has moved to court to block the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) from clearing four presidential candidates for the forthcoming polls unless he is included in the list of contenders.
In a petition filed before the High Court, Kigame wants to bar IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati from processing the papers of the four presidential candidates who have already been given the greenlight to contest the top seat.
The four who have been cleared include Azimio La Umoja candidate Raila Odinga, Kenya Kwanza aspirant William Ruto, George Wajackoyah and David Mwaure.
Kigame and scores of others were blocked after failing to meet the conditions placed by the electoral body.
The gospel artist, however, says he was unfairly blocked yet he is a person with disability. He now wants the high court to compel Chebukati to accept his documents in the Presidential check list.
“Unless this Court intervenes by exercising its sacred and primary duty under Article 23 the Respondents will continue to violate this Constitution and the rights and fundamental freedoms of the Petitioner”, adds Kigame.
It is his argument that the commission violated his constitutional rights as enshrined in the Constitution and the electoral body should clear him for the next level by being included in the presidential ballot on grounds of affirmative action that would promote inclusiveness.
He said on May 23 in the company of other Presidential candidates attended the pre nomination by the IEBC at the Bomas of Kenya in which the meeting, the chairman of the commission gave them an extension of two days to table signatures, ID copies of at least 2,000 voters of the majority counties.
He adds that Article 56(a) of the Constitution which provides for the rights of minorities and marginalized groups requires that the State put in place affirmative action programs designed to ensure that minorities and marginalized groups participate and are represented in governance and other spheres of life.
“As a person living with a disability, the Petitioner falls into the category of minorities and as such is entitled to the rights provided for herein. The Respondents’ blatant disregard of his rights and arbitrary denial of an opportunity to exercise this right grossly violates his constitutionally protected right.
Article 137 of the Constitution provides for the qualifications and disqualifications for election as president which require that the candidate be a citizen by birth, be qualified to stand for election as a member of Parliament, is nominated by a political party or is an independent candidate and is nominated by not fewer than two thousand voters from each of a majority of the counties.
He contends that he met all qualifications set out and yet Chebukati barred him from proceeding with his bid on scanty grounds that he did not comply but failed to explain exactly how he did not comply and has since refused to engage or respond to the Petitioner’s queries on the same.
“Under Section 11 of the Persons with disabilities Act, the Government is mandated to take steps to the maximum of its available resources with a view to achieving the full realization of the rights of persons with disabilities and this further buttresses the Petitioner’s rights as expounded above and the obligation by the government to ensure that his rights are protected and upheld”, adds Kigame.
Kigame initially presented the required documents on the May 23, 2022 and was awarded a two-day extension to regularize his documents to comply with the regulations. He then resubmitted them on the May 25 when he was told that his documents required some binding and other clerical work for presentation and was given a further extension to comply with the same.
He reappeared on May 29, 2022 as directed by Chebukati’s officer and wished to submit the now compliant documents and he was however denied access and an audience to the IEBC despite waiting for eight hours and was instead served with a non- compliance letter on email from Chebukati.
This letter did not disclose details as to how he had not complied thus pointing that this denial is arbitrary and a violation of his constitutional and statutory entitlements as outlined.