KIBRA BY-ELECTION

Mariga 'ready to work' as he appeals IEBC 'red card'

Former footballer petitions IEBC a day after candidacy was rejected for late voter registration

In Summary

• Mariga's nomination was quashed after it emerged his name was not on the voter register. 

• Petition cites that the law allows continuous registration of voters and that voter registers are updated continuously as per the law.

Kibra Jubliee candidate McDonald Mariga with his nomination certificate on September 10
DOORS STILL OPEN: Kibra Jubliee candidate McDonald Mariga with his nomination certificate on September 10
Image: DOUGLAS OKIDDY

Retired football star McDonald Mariga has challenged the decision to invalidate his nomination for the Kibra parliamentary seat.

Mariga petitioned the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission's Disputes Resolution committee barely a day after returning officer Beatrice Muli quashed his nomination to contest on a Jubilee ticket. 

Some Jubilee legislators have cried foul and blamed Mariga’s predicament on rivals even as a legal expert warns against politicising the matter. 

Lawyer Nzamba Kitonga stated that the decision by Muli was professional and not influenced by politics.

“When you don't appear in the register, it means there is a doubt as to whether the documents you are holding are genuine. So the right procedure was for her to invalidate the nomination and for Mariga to challenge the decision at the committee,” he explained.

Kitonga said that petitioning the committee will give both parties an opportunity to make available all the documents they have for purposes of concurrence.

“The IEBC can also re-look at the register properly and make a determination on the matter. It should be noted that the doors are not yet closed for Mariga,” he added.

Even as he filed the petition, Mariga took to social media to affirm that his quest is still possible and that his leadership will be based on spiritual quality to inspire.

“My decision to run for Kibra seat is informed by this deep spirit. I trust that this is still feasible. Niko tayari kwa kazi (I am ready for work),” he tweeted. 

As he moved to reverse the decision, IEBC convened a meeting with those who were cleared to contest to schedule their campaigns. The candidates are next meeting with the police to be briefed on what is required of them with regards to security. The electoral commission cleared 23 candidates, seven of whom are vying on independent tickets.

IEBC can also re-look at the register properly and make a determination on the matter. It should be noted that the doors are not yet closed for Mariga
Lawyer Nzamba Kitonga

Even so, Senate Majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen insisted that Mariga is qualified to run according to the Constitution.

“Those who are scared of competition are putting unnecessary roadblocks on his path. That was not a red card and VAR (Video Assistant Referee) will prove us right,” he said.

In his petition, the former footballer said the decision by Muli was improper and null since Mariga is a registered voter. 

He said he registered as a voter on August 26 at Kariokor Social Hall polling station in Starehe constituency, Nairobi county.

Mariga further wants IEBC to declare that he was validly nominated and be issued with a certificate of nomination.

He maintained that the decision by the returning officer violates his rights and fundamental freedoms protected by the Constitution and the Elections Act.

The former footballer said he was issued with an acknowledgement slip after registering, bearing electors number 0145211908261205-9. The petition also cites that the law allows continuous registration of voters under the Elections Act and that voter registers are updated continuously as per the law.

Retired ACK bishop Beneath Salala said Mariga should be alive to the fact that the returning officer could not have cleared him if his name was not in the register.

“Jubilee leaders who had accompanied him should lead by example and stop saying there is a witchhunt. We must stick to the law and that way we will be able to fight electoral injustices,” he added. 

Edited by R.Wamochie