The High Court in Eldoret has temporarily barred the Independent Electoral & Boundary Commission (IEBC) from clearing former governors Mike Sonko and Ferdinand Waititu to vie for elective posts in the forthcoming elections.
The court orders come after a constitutional petition was filed under the certificate of urgency by an Eldoret resident Silvester Kipkemoi through his lawyer Rioba Omboto.
While arguing the matter was urgent, Lawyer Omboto said there wasn’t much time left for the court to act since the IEBC was due to formally clear candidates soon and shortly thereafter print ballot papers for the elections.
Justice Nyankundi certified the matter as urgent.
Kipkemoi in an affidavit argued that it will be a violation of the constitution for Sonko and Waititu to be on the ballot considering that they were impeached while in office for violating the law.
In the petition, Kipkemoi has listed three respondents including the Attorney General, IEBC, and the EACC.
Sonko, Waititu, the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and the Katiba Institute were listed as interested parties.
Kipkemoi argued that both Wiaititu and Sonko who are vying as MP in Kiambu and Mombasa governor respectively have no pending appeals in court hence they stand no chance to be on the ballot.
“If this court does not intervene timeously, there is a cascading violation of the Constitution that impeached persons will contest, and even be elected at the August 9th 2022 general elections”, Omboto said.
Kipkemoi argued that Sonko and Waititu were impeached by their respective county assemblies and the senate and subsequently removed from office.
“Their attempts to obtain a reprieve from the courts failed. The courts upheld the impeachment for both and there is no pending appeal in any court of competent jurisdiction”, Kipkemoi said.
He cited Chapter Six of the Constitution on integrity, the County Governments Act, the Leadership and Integrity Act and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Act as some of the laws under which Sonko and Waititu do not qualify to vie for elective seats having been impeached.
Justice Nyakundi ordered that there was a compelling sense of urgency for the court to consider the issues raised.
“As such the application dated May 6th, 2022 is certified as urgent ex-parte in the first instance”, the court order said in part.
The judge said that at the crux of the petition is the suitability and eligibility of the persons named in the petition and who are likely and set to present their clearance instruments to the IEBC to exercise their democratic right to seek elective positions.
The judge noted that all the parties listed in the petition had a recognizable stake in the allegations stated in the petition.
The judge directed that given the statutory and constitutional timeline of the electoral cycle interim interdict be issued against the IEBC and other respondents.
He directed that the matter be heard inter-parties on Friday.
Justice Nyakundi also directed that suit papers in the petition be served on all parties.