Kiraitu, Linturi and Kawira fight suits from rivals for governor seat

Meru Senator Mithika Linturi. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Three aspirants for the Meru governor seat have filed separate petitions seeking the disqualification of their rivals for alleged breach of several provisions of the Leadership and Integrity Act and the Elections Act.

Joseph Kariithi Ben and Dickson Mwenda Kithinji filed the first separate applications seeking to have Senator Mithika Linturi (United Democratic Alliance) disqualified alongside Independent candidate and current Woman Rep Kawira Mwangaza for allegedly presenting fake university degree papers.

Ms Mwangaza and Mr Linturi, who were represented by a battery of lawyers, were in court yesterday for the hearing of preliminary objections against the petitions.

Charles Benedict Mwongela is appearing in the matter for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and the Meru County Returning Officer.

The petitioners want Linturi, whose running mate is lawyer Linda Kiome, disqualified alongside Mwangaza, whose running mate is Rev Isaac M’Ethingia.

The petition against Mwangaza alleges that she presented a forged Bachelor of Education degree from Kampala International University, while Linturi allegedly does not have a degree issued by a university recognised in Kenya.

A third petition was also filed seeking to bar Governor Kiraitu Murungi from defending his seat, citing failure of his running mate and Deputy Governor Titus Ntuchiu to resign as the Finance County Executive Committee Member.

The petition, which was filed by Isaiah Kithinji, lists Mr Kiraitu, Mr Ntuchiu, Meru County Returning Officer, Secretary-General of the Devolution Empowerment Party, and the Controller of Budget.

Lawyer Kiogora Mugambi, who is appearing for Mr Kithinji, is also defending Linturi in his petition.

In the matter against Kiraitu and Ntuchiu, the petitioner wants the court to confirm whether the deputy governor tendered his resignation by the February 9, 2022, deadline as required under the Elections Act, 2011.

He claims that Kiraitu appointed a non-qualified person as his running mate, knowing that he had not complied with the law.

But Ntuchiu, who described the suit as ‘dead on arrival’, said he was serving in the county government courtesy of being elected and was therefore not eligible to resign.