The High Court sitting in Nairobi says it has no jurisdiction to determine whether former Nairobi governor, Mike Sonko, and former Kiambu County Executive Committee Member (CECM), Karungo wa Thang’wa, should be barred from the August 9 polls.
The three-Judge bench led by Justice David Majanja asked the petitioners to explore and exhaust internal dispute resolution mechanisms with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
“We find and hold that petitions relating to the nomination process concerning Mike Sonko, Paul Thang’wa and Samuel Arama are premature.”We lack jurisdiction to entertain the petition on integrity issues about Sonko and others,” stated the Judges.
Sonko and Thang’wa had been sued by voters and civil society groups challenging their eligibility to contest in the August election on grounds that they had been impeached.
Further, the three-Judge bench stated that they would only make a determination on the matter once the issue is resolved by the IEBC.
“The net effect of this decision is that pre-election disputes such as those regarding suitability and eligibility for the nomination of candidates must be resolved by the IEBC in the first instance. The High Court’s jurisdiction is only triggered once the IEBC makes a decision on the issue,” the Judges ruled.
IEBC chairperson, Wafula Wanyonyi Chebukati, had earlier noted that impeached leaders were not eligible to hold any elective or appointive office.
Chebukati’s decision saw Sonko move to the High Court to contest the decision as he stated that he still has an active case challenging his impeachment.
Additionally, his legal team while appearing before the IEBC dispute tribunal, asked the committee to overturn the decision of the Mombasa county Returning Officer who declined to clear him until the High Court made a ruling.
However, the tribunal upheld IEBC’s decision stating that he was denied clearance for many other reasons including the late submission of his certified academic documents.
Consequently, Sonko stated that he would move to court to challenge the committee’s decision citing interference from external forces.