Former Harambee Stars player McDonald Mariga suffered a huge blow earlier this week when the IEBC denied him the nod to vie for the Kibra parliamentary seat slated November 7.
IEBC returning officer Beatrice Muli has explained that the electoral body was transparent citing that Mariga’s documents were received by the electoral body on Tuesday and handled through the same process as other candidates.
“We received Mariga document on September 10 and Mariga went through the nomination process the same way other candidates did. We have a checklist which we use to clear candidates,” she said.
Muli said the pertinent documents were first submitted to verification desk and forwarded to her.
She said IEBC nomination checklist requires aspirant be a registered voter.
Muli insisted that the only way the returning officer can verify if the aspirant is a registered voter is checking the register in the KIEMS.
She said however in Mariga’s case, upon presenting his ID cards, the Jubilee aspirant’s could not be found in the KIEMS.
The search was repeated several times but his details could still not be found.
“As indicated, Mariga names details could not be found in the register and therefore the candidate is not qualified as per our checklist, as the RO guided with the regulations the law, therefore, guided me to invalidate the candidature of Mariga,” she said.
According to section 5 (1) b of the Elections Act, all electoral activities including voter registration must stop upon declaration of a vacancy.
“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,” said an IEBC official.
But despite the written opinion by the legal team, commissioners – Chebukati, Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu – met on Wednesday and ordered Beatrice Muli, the returning officer, to clear Mariga.
But Muli declined to clear the ex-Harambee Stars international because his name was missing from the voter’s roll.
It is understood that Muli also feared that she would be held personally liable for any election malpractice.
“The law is very clear that IEBC election officials will be held personally liable for any electoral offence. She refused to commit an offence,” said another IEBC official.
On Tuesday evening, IEBC returning officer Muli told Mariga to seek redress with the IEBC Disputes Resolution Board.
“We have invalidated Mariga’s nomination,” Muli declared, triggering a nasty confrontation with Jubilee leaders who for the first time termed the commission as incompetent.
The IEBC will give it’s verdict on Mariga’s petition on Monday next week.
LUKE AWICH AND LYNDSAY NYAWIRA/The Star