COURT SAYS REFUSAL TO CLEAR IMPEACHED CANDIDATES OVER FAILURE TO MEET TIMELINES WAS UNFAIR.

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Mombasa Wiper Party Gubernatorial candidate Mike Sonko and Kiambu Senatorial candidate Karungo wa Thang’wa./PHOTO BY S.A.N.

BY SAM ALFAN.

The High Court has faulted the electoral body dispute resolution committee’s refusal to clear Karungo Thang’wa to contest the Kiambu senatorial seat for allegedly failing to beat timelines for set for presentation of his papers.

Justice Rachel Ng’etich sitting in Kiambu said in a judgement that the committee ought to have known that Thang’wa presented his papers in time but there was an order from the High Court that temporarily barred IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati from clearing the UDA candidate.

In Mombasa County, the Returning Officer rejected Wiper Party Gubernatorial candidate Mike Sonko application using impeachment as reason despite being aware Sonko had a pending appeal before supreme court.

Further, the court noted that Thang’wa had filed an appeal contesting claims that he was impeached before the communique was issued by Chebukati.

“I find that the 1st respondent acted unreasonably and unfairly in basing the decision on the said timelines,” the judge said.

The court added that the committee should have given the politician an opportunity to explain why he did not present his papers within the timelines.

The judge at the same time ruled that it was wrong to conclude that Thang’wa was impeached by the Kiambu county assembly when evidence presented before court was that he ceased being a county executive committee member with the impeachment of Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu.

“It is not, however, disputed that the then governor did not dismiss the Exparte applicant following resolution of the county assembly for him to be removed or dismissed,” the judge said.

The judge added that if the reason for the refusal to clear Thang’wa was disqualification under Article 75 of the constitution, the committee ought to have known that the law allows the candidate to exhaust all appeal process.

“The Exparte applicant ceased to hold office following impeachment of the governor in compliance with Article 179(7) of the constitution, which provides that a vacancy arises in the office if the county governor the members of the county executive committee cease to hold office,” the judge ruled.

Today Supreme Court dismissed an application seeking to dismiss Sonko’s appeal.

A bench of five judges of the Supreme Court judges led by Deputy Chief Justice Phiomena Mwilu dismissed an objection filed by Sonko’s successor Anne Kananu and the Nairobi county assembly, which sought the appeal to be struck out for allegedly being filed out of time.

“Having therefore, considered the motion, preliminary objection plus responses, we must dismiss the motion and overrule the preliminary objection,” Justices Mwilu, Smokin Wanjala, Njoki Ndung’u and William Ouko ruled.

The assembly had sought Sonko’s appeal to be struck out for having been filed out of time.

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