SECTIONS

Nomination lists for MCAs elicit protests as disabled ignored

Residents from Murranga spoke about the county assembly’s nomination list. [Boniface Gikandi, Standard]

The gazettement of nominees to the county assemblies has kicked up a storm with accusations that some names were deleted and replaced with those of politicians’ friends and family members.

In Kericho, Benjamin Koech is complaining about a gazetted list of 17 nominees to the county assembly.

Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) and members of the Ogiek community said some names were changed in the final list presented to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

Mr Koech pointed out that the gazetted UDA nomination list differs from the one by IEBC, dated July 27.

“The gazetted UDA nomination list does not conform to the constitutional requirement of inclusivity as it does not have representation of the PLWDs, and yet I had applied to the party as a PLWD,” he stated in a letter to the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) secretary general.

“By design, the published list in the Kenya Gazette shows there was a plan to deny PLWDs the opportunity to be nominated.”

Four individuals in the IEBC list under the Marginalised category are Opile Noela Omollo, Mercy Njeri Gikonyo, Issack Matkeir and Vincent Kipngetich Koskei.

Challenge the list

Governor Dr Erick Mutai said his administration was equally aggrieved by the issue.

“I really wanted a properly constituted assembly with Persons with Disabilities, minorities  and the marginalised. Besides Kericho, PWDs were not included in 21 counties. What happened is an insult to the Constitution,” he said.

Kapsoit MCA Paul Chirchir said there should be no swearing-in of the ward representatives - both elected and nominated - until the issue is addressed. The first sitting of the county assembly is slated for September 20.

In Bomet, members of Ogiek community are also not happy with the gazetted list of nominees representing marginalised groups.

Former nominated MCA Wilson Keter said PLWDs have been short-changed.

Keter, who is also the Bomet branch chair of Kenya Society for the Blind, said the nomination of only one person to represent people with disabilities was against the law.

He said the move to pick one person was in bad faith and that they will challenge the list and stop next week’s swearing-in of the nominated MCAs. “We will not let the party get away with it. We will fight to the bitter end and ensure people living with disabilities are given their slot.”

William Koros, the secretary general of Ogiek Independent Council of South West Mau said they have nothing to smile about.

He said they are moving to court to claim the minority slot, and added that they have written a protest letter to IEBC and UDA demanding answers. “We are not happy and we have written to UDA and IEBC protesting the decision to lock us out.”

Heard and determined

Scotty Vincent, a lawyer, who has been vouching for marginalised members of the Talai clan to be nominated to the county lamented that Talai’s are only relevant during the campaigning period. “It doesn’t make sense for the Talai and People with Disabilities to be left out in the nominations,” he said.

In Baringo, Edwin Kandie, the chair of PLWDs association said they were sidelined in 2017 also. “Two of us applied but we were not included,” he said and regretted that lack of PWDs in the assembly means their issues will not be addressed.

He said they will stop the swearing-in of MCAs through a court injunction.

In Kakamega, PLWDs allied to Ford Kenya have threatened to stop the swearing-in of nominated MCAs after the party failed to reserve a slot for them.

Led by Adrian Sakwa, the chair of the County Disability Empowerment Network, they claimed the party shortchanged them by failing to honour an agreement they signed.

“We are going to court to seek restraining orders so that the nominated MCAs are not sworn in until the matter is heard and determined,” he said. 

“The law is very clear that in any elective and appointive positions, PLWDs must be included but our party ignored that and 21 counties have not included PLWDs in their lists,” he said

The sentiments were echoed by Titus Ndalu, also an official of County Disability Network who said they will seek justice in the courts.

“We have suffered since 2017 yet the law is clear,” he said.

Exposed the loopholes

In Murang’a, there are claims by UDA supporters that the party list was tampered with. They have also threatened to stop the swearing-in of nominated MCAs by going to court.

Mathioya UDA campaigns coordinator Bernard Kuria said it was unfair for Kiharu Constituency to get seven nomination slots despite the sharing agreement they signed on July 11. 

“The gazettement of the nominees to the Murang’a County Assembly exposed the loopholes in the exercise,” said Kuria, adding that their concerns should be addressed urgently since those who were earmarked for nominations were left out without being told why.

In Isiolo, residents have protested the nomination of Kelvin Mbuthia Waruguru to the county assembly even though he is from Laikipia County. 

Mbuthia is brother of the former Laikipia MP Catherine Waruguru.

In a statement yesterday, IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati said they followed the law in gazetting the names.

“The formula for allocation of seats to the respective political parties from the party lists shall be the number of seats won by a political party divided by the total number of seats multiplied by available seats for allocation in the respective house,” Chebukati said in a statement.

He said the formulae which was applied through an electronic system is simple, secure and accurate and is has no room for either adverse human intervention or bias.

‘’The Commission completed the process and published the nominated persons to the Senate and National Assembly on September 7, 2022 and the list of persons nominated to the 47 County Assemblies on September 9 2022,” he said.

“We wish to inform the public that as per the Constitution and the Elections Act, the party list remains a closed list as at the date of General Election and for the term of Parliament or County Assembly, as the case may be, for which the candidates are elected and cannot be changed unless through an order of the court.’’

Reporting by Nikko Tanui, Gilbert Kimutai and Yvonne Chepkwony, Juliet Omelo, Boniface Gikandi