High Court nullifies Thuo Mathenge’s candidacy for Nyeri governor seat

A Nyeri businessman and independent gubernatorial aspirant Thuo Mathenge will not be on the ballot paper during the August 8 polls.

This follows a ruling by the high court in Nyeri which strike out a petition he had filed, terming it premature.

In its ruling, the court noted the applicant ought to have exhausted Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) disputes resolution mechanism (DRC) before moving to court.

Mathenge had moved to court on June 19, challenging the decision IEBC last month to revoke his nomination certificate on account of lacking requisite academic qualifications.

Lady Justice Abigail Mshila maintained the applicant notice of motion date 19 June seeking orders to overturn IEBC decision to revoke his name from the list of gubernatorial aspirant was premature.

“The proper forum and first port of call ought to have been IEBC dispute resolution committee. This court therefore finds it not suitable to exercise its discretion in granting orders sought by the applicant,” Mshila explained.

The applicant, aggrieved by the decision to revoke his certificate of nomination the judge added should have utilised and exhausted statutory mandated processes of the respondent.

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Mathenge, the court observed, provided no evidence of a formal complaint, prior to lodging his petition or any prove he had been denied audience by the IEBC.

“There was no evidence in court by the applicant to demonstrate that he had lodged a complaint with the electoral body relating to the revocation of his certificate of nomination,” Justice Mshila stated.

She further observed that there was also no evidence to demonstrate that the respondent failed to give him audience in the form of a hearing relating to the matter.

“It therefore follows that this court has no jurisdiction to entertain the application any further and must therefore down its tools,” said Justice Mshila.

In his submission last week, Mathenge through lawyer, Kioko Kilukumi, sought to have his nomination revocation annulled in that it lacked merit and violated his right to vie for an elective post.

The applicant based his argument on the process IEBC followed to reach its decision, stating it was illegal as he was denied an opportunity to be heard thus violating his right to natural justice.

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Kilukumi said given an opportunity, his client would have furnished the electoral body with the necessary documents to prove the validity of his degree as he accused it of making a hurried decision.

IEBC however through lawyer, Victor Obodi, opposed the application, saying it ended up in court illegally as the applicant had not lodged a petition before its Dispute Resolution Committee to register his dissatisfaction.

Obodi said the revocation of applicant’s documents was informed by High court Decision in 2013 questioning his academic degree and ordered for a probe by the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), a ruling that was later upheld by the Court of Appeal.

IEBC Nyeri County returning officer Aluisia Kanini had said the decision to revoke nomination was made following a petition filed by a resident, who argued Mathenge did not have a degree certificate.

The petitioner, Kanini said, quoted a 2013 judgment by High Court Judge James Wakiaga in which the court found that Mathenge had falsified his degree.

“He did not attend classes at Fairland University and therefore the degree certificate awarded to him was not validly awarded.Mathenge was not eligible to run for the office of the governor,” said Justice Wakiaga.

 

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