Karungo Thangwa gets nod to run for Kiambu senator seat

UDA Kiambu Senator aspirant Karungo Thangwa. [Esther Jeruto, Standard]

The High Court has ordered the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to clear UDA Kiambu Senator aspirant Karungo Thangwa.

Justice Rachael Ng’etich quashed a decision by the IEBC Dispute Resolution Committee on June 19, which upheld the refusal by the Kiambu IEBC returning officer from registering Thangwa.

“I order the second respondent (IEBC) to clear and register the applicant as Kiambu Senatorial candidate in the general election scheduled for August 9,” Justice Ng’etich said.

“In my view, the IEBC should have limited itself to reasons advanced for refusal by the returning officer to clear the applicant and if any other issue was to arise which required the commission’s determination, then the applicant should have been accorded an opportunity to be heard.”

Justice Ng’etich agreed with Thangwa’s lawyer Nga’ng’a Mbugua that he was entitled to benefit from Article 99 of the Constitution which gives a party an opportunity to exhaust all the appeal processes if an appeal has been filed challenging the decision that disqualifies the party from vying for any political position.

She said even if Thangwa was removed from office, he had already filed an appeal before IEBC’s communique barring him from contesting. The judge ruled that there is no evidence of graft that led to the removal of the aspirant from office.

She said Thangwa ceased to hold office the moment Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu was impeached. “It is not disputed that the governor did not dismiss the applicant following the resolution by the Kiambu County Assembly for him to be dismissed or removed,” the judge said.

The judge dismissed claims by the IEBC that Thangwa was locked out for returning his clearance documents outside the statutory timelines.

Kiambu voter Kelvin Njui petitioned the court to stop Thangwa’s clearance on grounds that he had been impeached by MCAs while he served as county executive.  

Although the county assembly resolved to have him removed from office in November 2019, the committee heard that Mr Waititu refused to act on that resolution.