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Court orders IEBC to receive presidential aspirant Peter Gichira's papers

By Faith Karanja | Published Fri, June 16th 2017 at 13:55, Updated June 16th 2017 at 14:01 GMT +3
Presidential aspirant Peter Solomon Gichira PHOTO:COURTESY

The High court has ordered Independent Election and boundaries commission (IEBC) to receive documents of presidential aspirant Peter Solomon Gichira, and issue him with their response on his eligibility to vie as an independent candidate within 36 hours.

While giving the ruling, Justice George Odunga said the respondents have not disclosed the kind of communication they had with the applicant. He said Gichira presented his papers within the required timeline on May 19 which was confirmed by one of the commissioner's from IEBC.

"IEBC failed to adhere to the requirements of fair administration and have failed to comply with the requirements of the constitution to receive his papers", Odunga ruled.

The commission said the applicant presented scanty documents in PDF form to the commission which was not disclosed properly well before court.

"The commission should have identified if Gichira was fit to vie as a presidential candidate or not instead of locking him out", he added

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati had on Wednesdaymaintained that Gichira was time-barred and disqualified from the race for non-compliance with statutory requirements.
But Gichira insisted that the IEBC boss disobeyed court orders, allowing him to present a list of signatures of his supporters beyond the timelines set by the electoral agency.

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In court papers, Chebukati said he did not receive the mandatory nomination list from Gichira between May 18 and 22 and he did not present evidence to prove he complied on May 19.

He said Gichira went to the IEBC offices at Anniversary Towers, Nairobi, on May 26 with a list of 57,382 names and signatures of his supporters for verification.

However, the High Court had not extended time to accommodate him and he was time-barred.
Chebukati explained to Odunga that Gichira did not present his nomination papers at the KICC between May 28 and 29 or send his authorized representative.

"The allegation by Gichira that the IEBC engineered his arrest and detention to prevent him from presenting his nomination papers is false and has not been substantiated," he said.

But Gichira maintained that he could not have gate crashed the nomination drive at the KICC, after he had been mistreated by IEBC officials.

Gichira had moved to court last month seeking orders compelling IEBC to register him for the race.
He filed an application yesterday under a certificate of urgency claiming that a decision to lock him out of the race was malicious and in bad faith.

"I was likely to be excluded from participating in the August 8 General Election after IEBC deliberately disobeyed court orders allowing him to submit his papers," Said Gichira

Gichira had on Monday appeared before Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi and denied three counts of attempting murder, creating disturbance, and malicious damage to property.

A group of his supporters were camping outside the Milimani law Courts carrying banners of their potential presidential aspirant.

The court heard that the accused committed the offense on May 27, 2017 at Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission offices in Nairobi (IEBC) at Anniversary Towers sixth floor in Nairobi within Nairobi County.

He is accused to have attempted to kill himself by trying to jump off sixth floor through the Window of the chairman of IEBC at the Anniversary Towers building.

In the second count he is accused of creating disturbance in a manner likely to cause a breach of peace by shouting and demanding for an explanation for being barred from vying as an Independent Presidential aspirant thus interrupting the smooth operations of the offices.
He was finally charged with malicious damage to property contrary to the law on similar dates and place.

"There is real apprehension that IEBC will print ballot papers for the presidential elections and completely lock me out from contesting the general elections in August" said Gichira

Last week, Justice George Odunga nullified restrictions imposed on independent presidential candidates to enlist supporters who have no political affiliation.

The judge declared as unconstitutional requirement by IEBC that independent presidential aspirants must submit signatures of their 2,000 nominees from 24 Counties through electronic format.

Odunga ruled that Section 29 of the Elections Act-which imposed the sanctions exclusively on presidential candidates-contravened Article 27 of the Constitution that enshrines freedom from discrimination.

"I find that the requirement does not meet the fairness and reasonability test as provided for under Article 24 of the Constitution," the Judge ruled

Justice Odunga further said the requirement that presidential candidates could only be nominated by members of their political party "contravenes Articles 27 (2) and (4) and Article 137 (1) (d) of the Constitution and is, therefore, null and void," he said.