Kenya: Court Stops Gatundu North Mini Poll, Pending Appeal

29 October 2020

The Gatundu North parliamentary seat should not be declared vacant, the appellate court directed yesterday.

The court told National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi to maintain the status quo, pending hearing and determination of a case lodged by Ms Wanjiku Kibe challenging nullification of her victory.

The court also restrained the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) from giving a notice of a by-election or conducting a mini poll for the constituency.

The three-judge bench said the High Court's October 7 order, directing the commission to conduct a by-election for the seat, should not be executed.

Justices Martha Koome, Daniel Musinga and Sankale ole Kantai said Ms Kibe has an arguable appeal against the High Court's finding that she was not qualified to be in the race in 2017.

While urging the Court of Appeal to suspend execution of the High Court decision, Ms Kibe expressed fears that Mr Muturi may give notice on the vacancy of her seat.

The Speaker is duty-bound to issue a notice to the IEBC within 21 days after receiving the High Court decision. The commission should then conduct a by-election within 90 days.

Public interest

The three judges said if a by-election is held and the intended appeal succeeds, it would create a situation that is not in the public interest.

"Having looked at the grounds of appeal, we do not entertain any doubt that it is arguable. The applicant says the Speaker is bound by timelines set to advise the IEBC to hold a by-election," they said.

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