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High courts bars IEBC from clearing Cleophas Malala

By Robert Amalemba - Jun 6th 2022
Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala. [File, Standard]

The high court in Kakamega has temporarily blocked IEBC from gazzetting the name of Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala as a governorship aspirant until a case where a voter is questioning the authenticity of his bachelor's degree is heard and determined.

Justice Paul John Otieno has however allowed the first time senator a chance to present his papers at the Kakamega IEBC offices to comply with the timelines scheduled to clear him on Tuesday.

"This case has been transferred from Nairobi to this court and is urgent yet I understand the respondents were not served with the voter to get a chance to reply. I therefore order that they be served by today (Monday) 6pm and the case he heard tomorrow (Tuesday)," said the justice.

"In the meantime, given the IEBC tight timeline, let Malala present his papers to the IEBC because that is the initial process to the gazettement but let him not be gazetted until this petition is determined."

The senator convinced the court that the petitioner Fred Muka, could not be infringed in any way if he (Malala) is allowed to table his credentials before IEBC as the court determines whether he is fit to vie or not.

A copy of the CUE letter in response to Senator Cleophas Malala’s application. [Courtesy: Sen Cleophas Malala]

“Besides, we could be in a position to argue out the case had we perused the petition but we haven’t seen it until now. We just came to know of the case through social media and chose to present ourselves in court,” said the senator’s lawyer Charles Malalah.

Mr Muka wants Malala bared from the governorship race arguing that he never graduated with a degree from United States International University Africa (USIU) and should be stopped from contesting for failing to meet the requirement of having a degree.

A screengrab of the USIU-Africa Digital Repository that features Cleophas Malalah among the 2011 graduates. [Courtesy of USIU]

“While Malala alleges that he graduated from USIU in 2011, his degree certificate was printed and issued to him on August 10, 2019. This is eight years after the purported graduation yet ordinarily the date on a degree certificate is the day a person graduates from an institution,” he said in papers submitted to the court.

“A look at USIU’s graduation list for 2011 shows that Malala did not feature among the graduands nor did his name feature in the graduation list for 2019.”

A copy of Cleophas Malala’s alleged Bachelor’s degree certificate. [Courtesy: Sen. Cleophas Malala]

Pending the hearing and determination of the application, Muka wanted the court to issue orders restraining IEBC from entertaining, considering, processing, evaluating, clearing and registering Malala as the gubernatorial candidate for the August polls.

Muka cites Section 22 (2) of the Election Act which dictates that "for a person to be validly nominated and thereafter cleared by the electoral commission to vie for the position of the Governor, he or she must be a holder of a degree certificate from an institution duly recognised in Kenya."

A copy of Senator Malala’s letter to the IEBC. [Courtesy: Sen. Cleophas Malala]

Through his lawyer Johnson Udoto, Muka has pledged to serve Malala and other respondents in the case including the USIU Vice-Chancellor with his petition for the reply and hearing.

The case will be heard tomorrow (Tuesday).

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