A petition seeking to remove Kirinyaga Senator Charles Kibiru (elected as an independent candidate) from his seat for dabbling in Jubilee Party (JP) affairs will go to the main hearing, the High Court has ruled.
Justice Lucy Gitari of Kerugoya High Court declined to dismiss the petition filed by Josiah Murigu and 30 other petitioners as prayed by Kibiru in a preliminary objection.
Murigu wants the senator removed from his seat for endorsing JP changes in the Senate on May 11 despite having been elected on an independent ticket.
But the first-term senator in his preliminary objection argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the petition, which he equated to an election petition that should be heard by-elections court.
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The petitioners have accused Kibiru of attending a JP parliamentary group meeting held at State House, saying this equalled 'joining a political party.'
Kibiru was faulted for endorsing the removal of Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and his Nakuru counterpart Susan Kihika from positions of Leader of Majority and Majority Chief Whip respectively during the Jubilee purge against allies of Deputy President William Ruto.
The petitioners claimed that the senator betrayed the trust of his electorate by participating in party's affairs and filed the petition to have Kabiru's seat declared vacant on account of his actions as provided in the Constitution that the office of a member of Parliament becomes vacant if “as an independent candidate, joins a political party”.
Kabiru had submitted that court lacked jurisdiction to hear and determine the petition and consequently, could not declare his seat vacant as prayed by the voters. “The matter is essentially an election petition seeking to remove me from office under the guise of a constitutional petition," the senator said in his preliminary objection.