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Supreme Court dismisses petition challenging Rigathi Gachagua's suitability as deputy president

Depeuty President-elect Rigathi Gachagua. [File, Standard]

The Supreme Court has thrown out a motion and petition challenging the suitability of Rigathi Gachagua as Kenya’s deputy president.

The petition was filed on August 8, a day before the General Election, by 11 individuals, who include Kenneth Njagi, Meshack Churchill, Jackson Mwalulu, Beatrice Kamau, Amos Wafula, Sophie Dola, Julia Wanjiku, James Maina, Simon Lokoma, Carolyne Ayitso, and Johnson Mwakaba.

In the ruling, the seven-judge bench argued that the reasons cited by the petitioners were incompetent.

“The Notice of Motion and petition dated August 5, 2022, is for the reasons given, incompetent and are hereby struck out,” court ruled, adding “the objections raised by the first to fifth respondents in respect of the Notice of Motion dated August 5, 2022, and Petition dated 5th August 2022 are allowed.”

The petitioners were seeking to have Gachagua barred from office for non-compliance with Chapter 6 of the Constitution, which focuses on integrity.

“To wit; a declaration that the second respondent is unfit and unsuitable to hold office of Deputy President by dint of his non-compliance with Chapter Six of the Constitution and Articles 99 (1) as read with Article 148 (1) of the Constitution,” the petition read.

They also wanted the court to declare the nomination of Gachagua as a running mate invalid.

Moreover, the petitioners argued that President-elect William Ruto violated the Constitution by declaring Gachagua a candidate for deputy president in the August 9 polls.

“A declaration that the first respondent violated Articles 99 (1), as read with Articles 137 (1), 148 (1) of the Constitution by nominating the second respondent as a candidate for Deputy President in the General Elections conducted on August 9, 2022, hence unfit and unsuitable to hold office of President.”

The petitioners also wanted the court to issue an order to quash the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Gazette Notice No. 7995 of July 1.

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati had gazetted William Ruto and Rigathi Gachagua as the President and Deputy President candidates for the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party.

According to the courts, the applicants were seeking an order to stop the president-elect and his deputy-elect from being sworn in upon being elected.

The apex court dismissed both the petition and motion as incompetent saying, “they are an abuse of the Court and ought to be struck out.”