15 February 2013

Kenya: Magwanga Cleared to Run

THE High Court in Kisumu has given former Kasipul Kabonndo MP Oyugi Magwanga the nod to contest for the newly created Kasipul parliamentary seat on an ODM ticket.

Justice Hilary Chemitei yesterday threw out an application filed by one of the contestants challenging the procedure with which Magwanga got his ODM certificate clearance.

Sam Okoth Kotiende, who had been issued with the ODM certificate and his name forwarded to the IEBC, had gone to court challenging  the inclusion of Magwanga's name in the IEBC list.

Kotiende had said the rules of natural justice had not been followed and wanted the ODM's national election board and IEBC decision to clear Magwanga squashed.

The IEBC appeals board in Nairobi cleared Magwanga to run after hearing a dispute lodged by the former Kasipul Kabondo MP against Kotiende.

Kotiende was perceived to have won the ODM nominations only for Magwanga to contest against the same before the IEBC appeals board.

In his application Kotiende claimed that he was not duly served by the IEBC appeals board in order to appear before it.

But Justice Chemitei ruled in his judgment that he was served via a short text message due to the limited time the electoral body had.

The judge said that the judicial review filed before him has a clear mandate and cannot interfere or circumvent the mandate of the IEBC appeals board.

Magwanga was enjoined in the suit as an interested party while the IEBC was the fourth defendant.

It was Kotiende's prayer that Magwanga's name be omitted from the ballot papers pending the hearing and determination of the petition.

Magwanga initially said through his lawyer William Kanjama that the suit should be sent before the chief justice so that a three judge bench can be constituted to hear it.

Kanjama told Justice Chemtei that other interested parties who are ODM officials are also based in Nairobi where they can give their side of the story.

He said the issue is not about jurisdiction but convenience for the benefit of all the parties.

Kotiende wanted the court to stop the IEBC from publishing the name of Magwanga on its ballot papers ahead of the general elections until the suit which he has filed is heard and determined.

Kotiende says he won the primaries and was given the ODM nomination certificates only for Magwanga to contest the same before the IEBC disputes committee.

The applicant says that the high court in Kisumu has the jurisdiction to hear the judicial review application.

The IEBC through Eric Gumbo argued that they have spent some 3 billion shillings on the ballot papers.

He said that it will be costly to the tax payers if the process is stopped by a single individual.

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