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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Joho free to present papers to defend seat

Mombasa governor Hassan Joho at Uhuru park on April 27,2017.Photo GPS
Mombasa governor Hassan Joho at Uhuru park on April 27,2017.Photo GPS

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho is now free to present his nomination papers to enable him to defend his seat.

Yesterday, the High Court rejected a renewed attempt to bar the IEBC from accepting Joho’s nomination papers, saying doing so would violate his rights.

Justice Chacha Mwita, sitting in Nairobi, said all aspirants have a right to participate in an election, unless it is proven they have violated the law.

“Let the legally mandated body make its decision first, if aggrieved you can challenge it,” the judge said.

A fortnight ago, he declined to issue similar orders, following an application by Nairobi businessman Abdallah Juma. Juma, through lawyer Irungu Kang’ata, had told the court it would be wrong for the IEBC to allow Joho to vie in August, while he holds questionable academic qualifications.

But Justice Mwita said the IEBC is the agency mandated to resolve such disputes. He said the court can only resolve appeals. “I will be prejudging if I issue the orders sought at this point,” Mwita told Kang’ata.

The lawyer said he wanted more time to file and serve additional documents. His application was allowed and the parties directed to go back to court on June 21, for further directions.

In his suit, Juma claims Joho does not meet the requisite educational qualifications to be governor, saying he obtained his degree through fraudulent means.

He says Joho publicly acknowledged that he got a grade D- in his KCSE exam in 1993.

Juma’s argument is that candidates with grade D- cannot qualify for admission to any university in Kenya or East Africa and neither can such a candidate do a bridging course and join a university.

Detectives have already questioned Joho over allegations he forged his KCSE exam certificate.

Juma has asked the court to force the University of Nairobi and the Kenya National Examinations Council to produce Joho’s academic papers, which he says will prove his case.

His win as a governor can be challenged if the fraud claims are proven in court.

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