Businessman Thuo Mathenge’s aspirations to become Nyeri’s third governor have suffered a setback after the High Court dismissed his application to force IEBC to enlist him as a candidate.
Mr Mathenge’s nomination certificate was revoked by the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission on grounds that he had not met the education threshold as set in the Constitution.
The revocation was made following a petition filed by a resident who contended that Mr Mathenge’s degree in social work from Uganda’s Fairland University was not genuine.
The court’s decision paved way for printing of the county’s ballot papers which had been halted because of the case.
MOVED TO COURT
Mr Mathenge moved to court through lawyer Kioko Kilukumi arguing that the electoral agency violated the Constitution by revoking his certificate without hearing him first.
He contended that the commission had already accepted his Sh50,000 for issuance of the nomination certificate.
However, Justice Abigail Mshila termed the case as premature, saying the businessman should have challenged his revocation at the IEBC’s Disputes Resolution Committee before seeking judicial review.
The court further found that Mr Mathenge had not lodged a complaint with the IEBC relating to the revoked nomination certificate.
“There is no evidence that the IEBC failed to give Mr Mathenge a complaint form or he was denied audience in the form of hearing. There is no evidence the IEBC had failed to perform its statutory duty,” said the judge.
The court also found that Mr Mathenge had not exhausted the statutory mandated process of dispute resolution mechanisms provided by IEBC.
“It follows that the court has no jurisdiction to entertain the application any further and must therefore down its tools. This court will therefore not belabour itself in addressing this issue,” Justice Mshila said.
Through lawyer Victor Obondi, IEBC contended that Section 74 of the Elections Act bestows the commission the right to resolve disputes.
The Nyeri governor’s race is now between three candidates including Wahome Gakuru of Jubilee Party, Patrick Maina Munene Kairu of Democratic Party and Governor Samuel Wamathai who is defending the seat as an independent candidate.
Protestors accuse Mathenge’s opponents instigating his disqualification.