The High Court will rule on Wednesday in a case seeking to block Ms Wavinya Ndeti from being the Wiper Democratic Movement’s gubernatorial candidate for Machakos in the August 8 elections.
The verdict holds the key to a fresh stream of litigations by thousands of losers in nominations that began in April.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), in its submissions before Justice George Odunga, argued that Ms Ndeti was guilty of party hopping and should not be allowed to run for election.
It said Ms Ndeti did not resign from the Chama Cha Uzalendo party as required by the law before moving to Wiper.
The IEBC said her name did not feature in the list of contestants for various seats the party submitted on March 27.
“There is no indication that she became a member of Wiper on April 6, 2017,” lawyer Paul Nyamodi told the court.
“A membership certificate dated April 24, 2017 shows that she became a member of Wiper by dint of a coalition agreement.
“She was a member of two parties. The applicant made futile attempts to leave CCU and she has not left. She cannot therefore be eligible for nomination by Wiper.”
The petitioner, Wamunyu MCA Kyalo Peter Kyuli, said the application by Ms Ndeti challenging IEBC’s decision could affect the entire elections timelines.
“The likely consequence would be, if the court were to agree with her, would re-open the race for those that were validly rejected on similar grounds, who would probably run into hundreds and eventually affect the entire elections timelines and calendar,” he submitted.
Ms Ndeti, who has challenged a decision by IEBC to remove her name from the list of candidates due to her being both a member of Wiper and CCU, said she complied with the law by resigning before being nominated by Wiper.
I FOLLOWED THE LAW
Mr Nyamodi said Wiper violated its nomination rules stating that Ms Ndeti was not a bona fide member of the party when it chose her to fly its flag.
“This court is asked to uphold the principles of democracy, affirm the importance of party discipline and ethics in electoral system, particularly the rationale behind setting of electoral timelines and the need for political parties to adhere to their rules,” he submitted.
But the former Youth and Sports assistant minister maintained she had followed the law, and ensured she was in Wiper party’s list before the deadline set by IEBC, which is the basis of argument at the High Court.
Her lawyers, Nzamba Kitonga and Willis Otieno, submitted that the commission did not check with the registrar of political parties to ascertain her membership before locking her out.
Mr Kitonga said the IEBC tribunal chaired by Mr Wafula Chebukati did not have the jurisdiction to entertain the complaint by Mr Kyuli since the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal had twice determined the issue on her nomination.
“The IEBC tribunal should pronounce itself incompetent to entertain the complaint by Kyuli as it was res judicater (already judged) then dismiss his application,” Mr Kitonga said.
The court heard that Mr Kyuli was not a party to the earlier cases filed by Machakos Deputy Governor Benard Kiala, who has since quit Wiper.
Kyalo filed a petition before the IEBC disputes committee.
The IEBC tribunal nullified Wavinya’s nomination on June 8.