8 July 2013

Kenya: Tribunal to Decide Kethi Fate Today

THE fate of lawyer Kethi Kilonzo, who is Cord's candidate for the Makueni senator seat, will be known today.

Kethi wants to replace her father, Mutula Kilonzo, who died in April after barely a month in office.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission's Dispute Resolution Committee chaired by Thomas Letangule is expected to rule on whether Kethi is a registered voter and hence eligible to vie.

If the committee finds that she is not a registered voter, Wiper Democratic Party and the Cord Alliance will not have a candidate for the July 22 by-election.

The complaints against Kethi were filed by voters Agnes Ndetei and Rodah Maede together with the People Party of Kenya. They asked the committee to bar her from running since she is not a registered voter.

Ndetei submitted that Kethi's elector number 0007331121411256 and acknowledgement slip number 0002050624 do not exist in the voters register or biometric data.

Also waiting to know his fate is Jubilee's Prof Philip Kaloki. The former Kibwezi MP is seeking to vie on a Narc ticket but his eligibility has been challenged after it emerged that he is still a member of the Wiper party, on whose ticket he contested the Makueni governor seat on March 4.

The law provides that one has to officially quit a party in writing.

The law also requires one to belong to a party for at least 45 days before contesting on its ticket.

Kethi's eligibility hangs in balance after IEBC officials on Saturday testified that the voter slip she used to secure a nomination on Wiper ticket was stolen.

The IEBC director-in-charge of voter registration, Immaculate Kasait, told the committee the slip Kethi used is from a booklet used to register only the former President Mwai Kibaki.

She explained that the particular slip and four others were stolen from the commission's offices. She maintained that Kethi's name does not appear in the 'Green Book' which is supposed to contain the details of all registered voters.

Yesterday, Jubilee was pushing for a further probe into the circumstances under which the card was stolen from the IEBC offices.

The party has singled out a top official of the commission whom it is accusing if being behind the alleged theft.

Officials of the alliance claimed that they have evidence that the IEBC official procured the acknowledgement slip for Kethi after receiving instructions from certain politicians. Jubilee is expected to this week take the matter to another level with calls for arrest and prosecution of the said IEBC official.

If both Kethi and Kaloki are blocked, the race will only be left to the Party of Independent Candidates of Kenya boss John Harun Mwau and Labour Party of Kenya's Jane Kitundu. Mwau ran and lost to Kethi's father in March.

If Kethi is knocked out of the race, it will be a big blow to Cord and especially the Wiper party headed by former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka.

Wiper is at the moment in a perilous political standing in and outside Parliament. It only won four seats in the Senate in the March elections.

The four positions were won by Mutula, Johnstone Muthama (Machakos), David Musila (Kitui) and Hassan Omar Hassan (Mombasa).

If Kethi is locked out of the race, Wiper will lose the nominee slot in the Senate currently held by lawyer Judith Sijeny further diminishing its political power and influence.

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