SECTIONS

Court asked to bar candidates with graft cases from taking office

The High Court has been asked to bar candidates with graft cases and integrity issues from being sworn into office in the event they are elected. 

In a new application before Justice Thande Mugure, 12 petitioners led by Kenneth Njagi and Meshack Suba, through their lawyer Kibe Mungai, said the court should order that those who have pending graft and criminal cases should not assume office if elected.

"Pending the hearing and determination of this petition, the court be pleased to issue an order of conservatory injunction to restrain the third to 15th respondents from being sworn in to their respective offices in the event any of them is elected during the General Election scheduled for August 9, 2022,” said Kibe. 

Majority of those listed in the suit are allies of Deputy President William Ruto, including his running mate Rigathi Gachagua, Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja, Sirisia MP John Waluke, Nakuru West MP Samuel Arama, Marsabit Governor Mohamud Ali Mohamed and Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki.

Others are former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, Garissa Governor Ali Bunow Korane, Tana River Governor Godhana Dhadho, Kirinyaga Governor Ann Waiguru, Migori Governor Okoth Obado, MPs Aisha Jumwa of Malindi, Oscar Sudi of Kapseret and Jonah Mburu of Lari.

validity question

According to Kibe, the question of validity of their nomination and gazettement by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to vie is critical and cannot be ignored. 

Kibe said the court is being asked to interpret the application of ethics and integrity law, while relying on a Supreme Court judgment barring former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu from accessing his office until the graft case against him is heard determined. 

At the heart of the case filed before Justice Thande, is whether persons who are before a court, facing criminal charges, or have unresolved integrity issues should be cleared to vie or be locked out until their cases are settled.

The petitioners also sued the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) and Attorney General Kihara Kariuki.

On Gachagua, the court is being asked to determine if he qualifies to be on the ballot as Ruto’s running mate after an anti-corruption court ordered him to forfeit Sh200 million to the government, found to be proceeds of graft.

Gachagua has since filed a notice to appeal the verdict by Justice Esther Maina. He is also before a magistrate’s court facing criminal charges.

Other petitioners in the case are Jackson Mwalulu, Beatrice Kamau, Amos Wafula, Julia Wanjiku, James Maina, Simon Lokoma, Caroline Ayitso, Johnson Mwakaba, and Ann Wanjiku.

"The effect of this scenario is that over the last two election cycles, the Kenyan State has been steadily criminalised in the sense that an increasing number of public officials are facing criminal prosecution, investigations and others have been convicted and quickly released on bail pending appeals," said Kibe.

Justice Mugure ordered the 12 petitioners to appear for a hearing on Monday next week.