BY-ELECTION DISPUTE

Mariga to know if he will contest in Kibra Monday

Fresh controversy erupts over the retired footballer’s age

In Summary
  • Former football star Macdonald Mariga will on Monday know whether his name will be on the ballot even as another controversy over date of birth surfaces.
  • Muli said she made the decision in strict compliance with the Constitution and IEBC regulations and was never under pressure from anyone.
Kibra Jubliee candidate McDonald Mariga with his nomination certificate on September 10.
Kibra Jubliee candidate McDonald Mariga with his nomination certificate on September 10.
Image: DOUGLAS OKIDDY

Football star Macdonald Mariga will on Monday know whether his name will be on the ballot for the Kibra by-election even as fresh controversy over his date of birth surfaced.

The IEBC's Dispute Resolution Committee on Friday said it will give a verdict next week on whether the Jubilee nominee was properly registered to contest in the November 7 by-election.

As the Independent Election and Boundaries Commission panel chaired by Wafula Chebukati retreats to write its report, there are questions about Mariga's age.  

 

Kibra voter Leina Konchellah on Friday applied to be enjoined as an interested party in the matter. The seat fell vacant after former MP Ken Okoth died of cancer on July 26 at the Nairobi Hospital. 

Konchellah holds that Mariga does not meet the threshold to be a candidate for MP. She told the committee that he is not a properly registered voter. Konchellah claimed Mariga rushed to obtain a registration slip days after the IEBC  suspended  registration of voters to update of register.

“It is rather curious that the complainant presented a national identity card indicating his date of birth being April 4, 1987. His Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education certificate shows he sat the exam his Form 4 in November-December 2002,” Konchellah said in a sworn affidavit to the IEBC.

“It means Mariga sat the exam at age 15, which is rather unusual. That means he enrolled in Standard 1 when he was three years. This means he was genius in primary but that brilliance left him in secondary school since he got a grade D- or there are issues on the authenticity of the documents.”

However, the Dispute Committee ruled it will only admit parts of Konchella’s affidavit. The legal team was told to restrict the presentation to the issues touching on Mariga’s registration as a voter.

Mariga had petitioned the IEBC after Kibra returning officer Beatrice Muli invalidated his nomination on account that his name was missing from the register of voters.

Appearing before the committee, Muli defended her decision. She said his name was not in the register and clearing him would be a breach of the law and election regulations.

 

“We received Mariga’s document on September 10 and that Mariga went through nomination process the same way other candidates did. We have a checklist which we use to clear candidates. Mariga documents were submitted to verification desk and forwarded to the returning officer’s desk,” Muli said.

“IEBC nomination checklist item D, requires an aspirant be a registered voter. In the case of Mariga, upon presenting his ID cards, his details could not be found in the KIEMS. The search was repeated several times but unfortunately no details could be found.”

Muli said she made the decision in strict compliance with the Constitution and IEBC regulations and not under pressure from anyone.

But Mariga’s legal team led by lawyer Elisha Ongoyi pushed Muli to admit an error on her part and pleaded with the committee to rectify the ‘mistake’ by overturning the decision.

Ongoya told the committee that Mariga is properly registered as a voter, citing the acknowledgement slip issued in Starehe constituency on September 26 as enough proof.

Starehe deputy registration officer Ismael Yassin told the committee that he gave acknowledgement slip to Mariga upon meeting all the requirements including filling the mandatory Form A issued to new voters.

“He presented himself before me. Initially, he came without his ID but sent for it and I gave him Form A, took his biometrics, then after that I wrote the acknowledgement slip,” Yassin told the committee.

However, upon scrutiny of the Form A by the IEBC boss, it emerged that Mariga did not sign it as required by law.

Chebuakti was accompanied by commissioners Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu during the sitting that lasted slightly more than two hours.

Mariga who attended the sitting was accompanied by Lang'ata MP Nixon Korir.