IEBC top leadership Ignored the law to clear Champions League winner McDonald Mariga in Kibera, it can now be revealed.
According to a report published by The Star, Interim Electoral and Boundaries Chairman Wafula Chebukati and two other commissioners ignored advice from their own legal team and ordered the returning officer in Kibra to clear the former Harambee Stars skipper.
According to the report, the legal and ICT teams advised the commissioners that Mariga, who is being fronted by Deputy President Dr. Willliam Ruto, was missing in the vvoter’s register.
The advisors noted that McDonald Mariga had initially not been registered anywhere and only resurfaced to Kariakor on August 26 where to apply for the registration.
This was twelve days after the National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi had declared the seat vacant contrary to section 5 (1)b of the Elections Act which prohibits all electoral activities including voter registration from continuing immediately a vacancy is declared.
“Mariga applied for registration on August 26 after the vacancy was declared on August 14 and IEBC gazetted the by-election on August 16, two days later. By law, the application must be brought to headquarters and all details confirmed before they can be put in the voters’ roll. Once that is done the register will have to be gazetted.
“In this case, Mariga’s application is still pending. He cannot, therefore, be cleared to vie,” The Star quoted an IEBC official .
However, Chairman Wafula Chebukati, commissioner Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu, under unclear circumstances, ordered Beatrice Muli, the returning officer, to clear the highly-critisized footballer.
— Daily Nation (@dailynation) April 16, 2018
The Election Act holds any IEBC election official personally responsible for any electoral offence under his or her watch.
But with pressure mounting and Mariga’s name missing in the voter register, the IEBC had nothing to do than bar Mariga from presenting his papers.
Mr. Wafula Chebukati went down in the books of history as the first ever electoral Chair to oversee a presidential election that was later nullified by a court of law.
You wanted us to waste our time lining up to vote? https://t.co/J9bqF6hW8L
— #StayAtHome (@matesobilachuki) September 10, 2019
Since then, Chebukati has been at war with his C.E.O Ezra Chiloba who is suspended.
The move by the commissioners to clear Mariga puts the IEBC’s top leadership on the spot on their ability to observe the law.
I appeal to Mariga's supporters in Kibra Constituency to remain calm. Tomorrow we're to the @IEBCKenya Disputes Tribunal which will easily verify & find that @McDonald_Mariga is a registered voter. He will be on the ballot. Tukutane kwa debe.. pic.twitter.com/w2EEVpYyBt
— Dr Boni Khalwale, CBS (@KBonimtetezi) September 10, 2019
15 aspirants have already been cleared to vie in the upcoming mini-poll.
Ford Kenya, Ukweli Party, Narc Kenya, PDU, ANC, ODM, Republican, United Green Movement, Modern Alliance Party, Republican Liberty Party and National Liberty Party have all been given the green flag so far.
The Kibra Parliamentary seat fell vacant after the death of Ken Okoth who was holding the capacity on an ODM ticket.
The late Okoth succumbed to cancer in July 2019.