Ex-football star McDonald Mariga faces a fresh legal hurdle that could block him from running in the Kibra parliamentary by-election.
In a new suit filed at the High Court, Kibra voter and Jubilee Party member Leina Konchella claims that the IEBC bosses irregularly cleared Mariga and closed their eyes to irregularities in his papers.
The suit comes just days after President Uhuru Kenyatta endorsed Mariga, a huge relief to Deputy President William Ruto’s team.
In the court papers seen by the Star, Konchella has asked the High Court to stop the IEBC from printing ballot papers for the poll scheduled for November 7 until her petition is heard and determined.
“This Honourable Court be pleased to issue a conservatory order restraining the 1st respondent [IEBC] whether by itself, its agents, its servants or otherwise howsoever from printing ballot papers,” the suit reads.
The petition is based mainly on two issues — first, that Mariga is not a duly registered voter and second, he has questionable integrity that effectively bars him from the electoral contest.
“The integrity, transparency and accountability of the electoral process is in doubt and it’s only fair and just that such issues raised ought to be canvassed as a matter of urgency to protect the sanctity of the electoral process in Kenya,” Konchella argues. She is represented by lawyers Odindo and Company Advocates.
On Monday, IEBC Commissioners — Wafula Chebukati, Boya Molu and Abdi Guliye — cleared Mariga to contest despite initially being blocked by Kibra Returning Officer Beatrice Muli.
In her petition, Konchella claim Mariga registered as a voter long after the IEBC had suspended voter registration in Kibra.
She also argues that according to the law, a voter register considered legitimate for purposes of nomination and election must be certified and gazetted.
The last time the IEBC gazetted the national voter register was in 2017.
The petitioner also claims there is a possibility that either Mariga’s identity card or academic documents are forgeries.
“It’s apparent that either the 2nd respondent’s National Identity Card or his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education is not genuine. This is clearly an issue of integrity that called for determination by the 1st respondent who possesses constitutional competency to determine all issues of eligibility of candidates,” the petitioner argues
The IEBC’s Dispute Resolution Committee Committee declined to adjudicate this matter when it was brought before it.
Konchellah said Mariga’s ID indicates that he was born in April 1987.
However, his KCSE exam papers indicate that he sat the exams in 2002, meaning he completed high school when he was age 15.
“It, therefore, means that the 2nd respondent [Mariga] enrolled in Class 1 at the tender age of three years. This can only lead one to conclude that the complainant was either a genius at primary school level which genious abandoned him at the secondary school level for him to get a deplorable mean grade of D- (minus),” the petitioner argues.