Mariga: Why IEBC should clear me for mini election

IEBC Returning Officer Beatrice Muli (center) looking through nomination documents of Jubilee aspirant McDonald Mariga. [David Gichuru/Standard]
Soccer star McDonald Mariga is not letting up the fight to vie in the November 7 Kibra by-election and has appealed against the electoral commission’s decision to disqualify him.

Maringa yesterday moved to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Disputes Resolution Tribunal to contest the move to bar him.

He wants the tribunal to nullify the decision by Kibra Constituency Returning Officer Beatrice Muli who declared that the Jubilee aspirant is not a registered voter and thus not eligible to contest.

Mariga though the law firm of Majimbo AG & Co advocates, filed the complaint at IEBC offices insisting that he is a registered voter.

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In the affidavits, the footballer says he was enlisted as a voter on August 26, 2019 at Kariakor Social Hall polling station in Starehe Constituency and thus it was improper for the commission to declare him ineligible.

The aspirant who is said to be Deputy President William Ruto’s pick, argues that the move to bar him violates his rights and fundamental freedoms protected by the Constitution and the Elections Act.

“I registered as a voter on August 26, 2019 at Kariakor Social Hall polling station in Starehe Constituency and was issued with acknowledgement slip bearing Electors No 014521190826205-9. The law allows continues voter registration and the voter registers are updated continuously,” Mariga said.

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The commission which has received the petition, was meeting last evening and will call Mariga to appear before the tribunal to prosecute his case.

“We have served the IEBC lawyers and they will meet internally before inviting us to make either oral or written submissions,” Langata MP Nixon Korir who accompanied him to Anniversary Towers said.

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On Tuesday evening, Ms Muli told Mariga that a search at the register did not find his name and advised him to seek redress with the IEBC Disputes Resolution Board.

“Mine was to confirm that the aspirant meets requirements. I have verified and checked and I could not find his details.  At this point my hands are tied. We have invalidated Mariga’s nomination,” Muli said.

The Returning Officer and some of her superiors are said to have defied pressure from a member of the commission who had asked them to clear Mariga and insisted that the law had to be used.

This is because the voter register is yet to be updated, certified and gazetted to make Mariga and any other Kenyan who has applied for registration under the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise after 2017 polls valid.

IEBC officials from Legal and Risk departments, insisted the name has not been updated in the register being used for elections and that Mariga should be treated like other Kenyans who applied to be enrolled after 2017 and were denied a chance to vote in Embakasi South and Ugenya by-elections.

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A commissioner requested the staff to ignore the provisions and clear Mariga but the secretariat chiefs said any move to violate the law will expose them in their personal capacity to litigation or disciplinary action.   

“We couldn’t rely on a word of mouth to clear him (Mariga) yet there was a legal opinion,” an officer said.

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McDonald MarigaKibra By-election