BY SAM ALFAN.
Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has been handed a big boost after the High Court stopped the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) from printing ballot papers for the Mombasa Governor.
A bench of three judges barred the electoral body from publishing in the Kenya Gazette, candidates for the position of governor for the Mombasa County.
The court also issued an order restraining Wiper party from nominating any other candidate to contest the Mombasa gubernatorial seat.
Justices Olg Sewe, Stephen Githinji and Anne Ong’injo directed the IEBC to halt plans of printing ballot papers for the in respect of the candidate for the position of Governor of Mombasa County pending hearing and determination of the application by Sonko.
Sonko is seeking to overturn IEBC Dispute Resolution Committee’s decision to bar him from vying for the Mombasa Governor seat.
Sonko filed the appeal after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission dispute resolution committee barred him from contesting the August 9 polls, saying he was not eligible to hold public office because he was impeached.
The committee led by the chairman Wambua Kilonzo gave his party- Wiper a chance to replace Sonko with another candidate.
Decision by Wambua led committee triggered Sonko bid to challenge their ruling.
High Court has declared appointment of Irene Cherop Masit as a commissioner unlawful. Masit was among members of the committee that ruled against Sonko.
However ,Judge refused to revoke the appointment of Masit as a commissioner, saying she would remain in office to avoid interfering with the ongoing preparations for the August 9 General Election and to avert any constitutional crisis in the country.
The judge said the removal from office of commissioner Masit at the moment is likely to adversely affect the commission with less than two months to the general election since the commission is on a very high gear in its preparation.
“It is on foregoing that this court finds it prudent to allow Masit to remain in office, whereas this court maybe seen as sanctioning an unconstitutionality, the circumstances of the matter call for the maintenance of prevailing status quo”, said the judge.
Lawyers have questioned the decision by Justice Antony Mrima on why the judge sanction the illegality.
The question is , does the ruling by IEBC Dispute Resolution committee against Sonko and other candidates have any legal basis after the High court declared Masit was appointed illegal?