27 February 2013

Kenya: Supreme Court to Decide Fate of Four Candidates

With just four days to go before the March 4 elections, the Supreme Court has been asked to decide whether or not four presidential candidates are eligible to contest.

But even before the court decides on the matter, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has already filed an objection to the court hearing the matter saying the commission had the sole responsibility to decide whether or not to bar Jubilee Alliance's Uhuru Kenyatta, Cord Coalition's Raila Odinga, Kenya National Congress candidate Peter Kenneth and Amani Coalition's Musalia Mudavadi from running for public office.

Isaac Aluochier who is described in the court papers as a voter from Migori also wants to bar Raila's running mate, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Uhuru's deputy presidential candidate, Eldoret North MP, William Ruto from running for office.

The IEBC claims it has the sole discretion to settle any disputes arising from the nominations which also included the nomination of presidential candidates. The case, which was filed by a voter, is expected to be heard by the Supreme Court this morning.

According to IEBC, Article 88(4)(e) of the Constitution has conferred the commission with the exclusive responsibility and no other body can resolve the dispute.

Aluochier, argues that the four presidential candidates have contravened sections of the constitution hence their nominations is unconstitutional.

He claims the candidates flouted the constitution as they had not resigned from their current positions in order to seek the elective posts. Raila, Uhuru, Mudavadi and Kenneth were already serving as state officers by the time they were nominated by their parties.

Aluochier says the IEBC should not have cleared the candidates as this was in contravention of Article 137(2)(b) of the constitution, which states that a person is not qualified for nomination as a presidential candidate or deputy if the person is a state officer or is acting as one.

Aluochier said the constitution does not exempt holders of other state offices such as that of the Prime Ministers, Deputy Prime Ministers or ministers. Raila, Uhuru Mudavadi Kalonzo and Kenneth are still state officers, he said adding that IEBC contravened article 27 by not stopping them.

"Article 9(2) (h) provides that a person is disqualified from being elected a Members of Parliament if is he found to have in any way contravened chapter six," he says.

Aluochier wants the court to dismiss the IEBC objection to the Supreme Court hearing the case saying this question had already been determined by the courts.

"Is the IEBC some sort of Supreme Court or Supreme Tribunal with respect to the various responsibilities conferred upon it by Article 88(4), with any decision reached by the IEBC on any such matter being final, without recourse by way of appeal to or review by any judicial body?" Aluochier says in his response.

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