Footballer McDonald Mariga – whose candidature for the Kibra by-election has been the subject of unending controversy – will today know if he will be cleared to run for the vacant seat.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will make a ruling on whether he was duly registered as a voter. This, after invalidating his candidature over missing details in the voters’ roll.
But the football star’s woes might not end any time soon following yet another bid to stop him for contesting in the mini-poll over an alleged inconsistency in his national identification card.
The IEBC is largely expected to make a ruling on the voter registration issue and not the authenticity of Mariga’s ID after all parties made their submissions last Friday.
Leina Konchellah has petitioned IEBC to pronounce itself on the age issue, failing which, she says, she may move to the High Court. In her sworn submission filed with the electoral agency, Ms Konchellah says there could be integrity issues with the documents Mr Mariga submitted to the commission.
“It is curious to note that the complainant presented a national identity card indicating his date of birth as April 1987 and further presented his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education indicating he sat his Form Four examinations in November/December 2002,” says Konchellah.
She continues: “From the above, it means that the complainant sat his Secondary School examinations at the age of 15, which is rather unusual. And if the same is calculated backwards, it means the complainant enrolled for Class One for his primary school education at the age of three.
“This can only lead one to conclude that the complainant was either a genius at Primary School level, which brilliance abandoned him at Secondary level for him to get a mean grade of D-(minus), or there are integrity issues as to authenticity of the said documents he presented before the IEBC,” reads the submission.
Integrity is hugely important when clearing a candidate for political office and could be Mariga’s next major hurdle in his quest to succeed Ken Okoth.
This new development could force the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to probe the matter before Mariga can be cleared to run. It could also put the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission in a spot because it is required to provide clearance certificates for those seeking public office.
The saga surrounding the footballer has further cast doubt on whether Jubilee Party’s National Elections Board carried out due diligence before interviewing and picking the footballer from a list of 16 aspirants.
On Friday, Starehe Deputy Registration Officer Ishmael Yassin told the IEBC’s appeals committee, which is led by chairman Wafula Chebukati, that Mariga did not sign his voter registration acknowledgment slip.
Mr Yassin told the poll team that Mariga had on August 26 gone to register as a voter at Kariakor but did not have his ID with him. The footballer had to send his aide to fetch the document.
It has also emerged that Jubilee never forwarded his contacts to the IEBC for the returning officer to invite him for a pre-nomination meeting for all candidates.
Kibra Constituency Returning Officer Beatrice Muli said she held a meeting with all the other parties on September 5, but Jubilee’s representatives and Mariga never showed up.
Ms Muli said she tried to reach the party offices but the phone went unanswered.
She said when Mariga submitted his nomination certificate, election officials tried to find his name in the electronic register but it was missing.