Thuo Mathenge locked out of Nyeri governor’s race

Thuo Mathenge addresses journalists after IEBC struck out his name from the list of candidates who will vie on August 8th. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

 

Thuo Mathenge addresses journalists after IEBC struck out his name from the list of candidates who will vie on August 8th. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

The political life of Thuo Mathenge, an aspiring governor for Nyeri County, can simply be described as calamitous.

From the day he threw his hat in the political ring in 2013, Mr Mathenge has not rested easy, battling all sorts of controversies that have stalked him.

Yesterday’s decision by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to block him from the Nyeri governor race was the latest hurdle in his fledgling political career.

Mathenge’s name was struck off the list of candidates cleared to vie for different seats following a petition by a voter over his eligibility.

 Court order

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Although Mathenge has challenged the move in court, IEBC said it would not include his name in the final roll of candidates until the legal process is concluded. And as expected, Mathenge did not take the IEBC move lying down — he vowed to fight to the end.

The prominent Nyeri businessman accused IEBC of ignoring a court order that directed it to gazette his name.

“I had moved to court to challenge the revocation of my nomination and the court ordered that I should have my name on the list of gazetted candidates for Nyeri governorship, the court ruling is slated for July 13. The IEBC should have waited for the courts decision,” he said.

Controversy could be Mathenge’s second name going by what has happened since he thrust himself in the ‘dirty’ world of politics.

During the 2013 General Election, he lost the seat to Grand National Union (GNU) aspirant the late Nderitu Gachagua when he came a distant third. The current Jubilee Party candidate, Mr Wahome Gakuru, emerged second.

Unconvinced that he had been beaten fairly, Mathenge who was vying on a Saba Saba Asili ticket, challenged Gachagua’s win in court.

Gachagua through his lawyers then made an application challenging Mathenge’s academic qualifications.

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His questionable education qualifications saw his petition dismissed.

Justice James Wakiaga ruled that Mathenge was not qualified to vie for the seat.

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

Since then, questions about his academic qualifications have refused to go away.

In what he may have thought was a minor pitfall, Mathenge was back in the political field, leading Jubilee Party activities in Nyeri.

And as the electioneering period beckoned, he once again submitted his nomination papers to the party but was surprised when the party rejected his bid on the eve of nominations.

Ugandan university

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The party rejected his candidature on grounds that the degree he obtained from a Ugandan university was fraudulent.

This is despite the party having received his Sh500,000 nominations fee.

Mathenge, not known to give up easily, was later seen hobnobbing with Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua’s Maendeleo Chap Chap before he finally settled to vie as an independent.

When he presented his papers to IEBC and they were duly accepted, Mathenge thought he had surmounted the challenge. Little did he know that his goose was cooked for a second time, with IEBC slamming the door on him once and for all.

Yesterday, an angry Mathenge accused IEBC of ignoring a court order that directed it to include him as a governor candidate.

Addressing a press conference at his multi-million Brade Gate Poultry Industry in Kiganjo, Mathenge said he was not done yet. “Whatever happens, my name is going to be on the ballot on August 8,” he thundered.

Mathenge, the current chairman of the controversial Mboi Kamiti Land Buying Company, claimed there is a well-calculated plot to lock him out of the race due to his popularity. 

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