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Kibra by-election: IEBC to decide Mariga's fate Monday

Friday September 13 2019

McDonald Mariga

McDonald Mariga outside the headquarters of Jubilee Party in Pangani, Nairobi, on September 10, 2019. IEBC rejected his candidature for Kibra MP race. PHOTO | FIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

COLLINS OMULO
By COLLINS OMULO
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Footballer McDonald Mariga, who is seeking to contest in the Kibra parliamentary by-election, will know his fate on Monday.

The nomination of the Jubilee's candidate for the November 7 mini poll was invalidated by the electoral agency on Tuesday because his details were missing from the voters roll of 2017.

DISPUTE

The chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Wafula Chebukati said Friday that a ruling by the dispute resolution committee hearing the case filed by the football star will be delivered on September 16.

Mr Chebukati said all the parties involved in the case have made their submission, including those opposed to Mariga's candidature and those challenging his invalidation.

The legal team representing Mr Mariga led by Elisha Ongoya called on the committee to remedy the error and allow the complainant to take part in the mini poll.

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Mr Ongoya argued that the respondent, Kibra constituency returning officer Beatrice Saki Muli, erred in nullifying Mr Mariga’s candidature and as such, it will deny voters in Kibra a right to choose their candidate of choice as well as disenfranchise the rights of the complainant.

“I am not blaming the returning officer for making the error and even if it was an innocent mistake, it is one that must be corrected by the committee to give the people of Kibra a full menu of contestants to choose from,” said Mr Ongoya.

He submitted that Mr Mariga has all the requirements enlisted by the Constitution concerning elections observed that the laws points out that one only has to be a registered voter and the registration exercise is a continuous one.

“The law on registration during by-elections refers to that specific place where any continuous voter registration should be stopped and so the returning officer did not go farther to check the whole register,” he said.

However, the second interested party sought to have the appeal dismissed maintaining that the complainant registered outside the window required by the law and so should not be part of the aspirants.

Their lawyer argued that because Mariga registered at Kariokor Social Hall in Starehe Constituency on August 26, which is 12 days after the Kibra seat was declared vacant, he should not take part in the by-election.

He explained that Section 2 of the Elections Act describes a voter as a person whose names appear in the current register of voters but in this case, the electoral commission had suspended registration of voters and revision of the same on August 16 yet the complainant registered on August 26, 2019.

“Our submission is that this particular registration was not legal as an acknowledgment slip is not an evidence of registration but just an application for registration. And as such, the complainant therein doesn’t qualify to run as Kibra MP since he is not a registered voter,” the lawyer said.