11 MPs risk losing seats after elections challenged in court

Thursday, November 12th, 2020 00:00 |
Parliament in session. Photo/PD/FILE

Eleven MPs, who did not resign as Members of County Assembly before the 2017 General Election, risk losing their seats after two voters challenged their election in court.

The two Murang’a residents, Kennedy Irungu Ngondi and Martin Njuguna Ngugi, want the court to declare the election of the said MPs was in violation of the constitution and therefore null and void.

According to the petitioners, the 11 MPs were state officers at the time of their nomination and were therefore ineligible to stand for elections as MPs without resigning. 

“Section 43(5) of the Elections Act allows state officers to vie for elective public office provided they first resign from the office they are holding at least six months prior to the date of the election,” the two averred in the petition.

Those sued are Maragua MP Mary Waithera Njoroge, Laikipia Women Representative Catherine Wanjiku Waruguru, Nakuru Senator  Susan Kihika, Kakamega Senator  Cleophas Malalah and Laikipia West MP Patrick Kariuki Mariru.

Others are Baringo County Women Rep Joyce Chepkoech Korir, North Mugirango MP Joash Nyamoko, Mombasa County Women Rep Asha Hussein Mohammed, Kisumu Central MP  Ouda Fred Odhiambo, Bureti MP Mutai Japheth Kiplangat and Kajiado West MP George Sunkuyia Risa.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has also been named as a respondent in the suit. The two voters contend that Article 99(2) (d) of the constitution  unequivocally disqualifies MCAs from Parliamentary elections. 

“Section 43(5) of the Elections Act, places a reasonable restriction on the Respondents political rights under Article 38 of the Constitution by giving them like other State Officers who desire to contest for parliamentary elections, the option of resigning from their positions at least six months before the said Parliamentary elections,” the two argued in court documents.

Disqualifies MCAs

Through the law firm of Owuocha and Associates Advocates, the petitioners argue  that since the 11 MPs  did not resign from their positions as Members of the various County Assemblies at least six months before their election as MPs in 2017, the said elections were conducted in utter violation and in flagrant disregard of the Constitution.

The two argue that by allowing the 11 MPs to contest the Parliamentary elections in 2017, IEBC violated Article 27 of the Constitution by discriminating against other state officers who were denied the opportunity to contest in the said elections on account of them being state officers.

“By accepting the nominations of unqualified contestants, IEBC violated Article 38 of the Constitution by illegally eliminating the possibility of other qualified candidates from contesting in said elections through their preferred party tickets,” they argued in court documents.

“IEBC with full knowledge that the MPs were State officers at the time of their nominations for elections as Members of Parliament, nevertheless allowed them to stand for elections in utter contravention of Article 99 2(a) of the Constitution,” they argued.

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