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Voter seeks to block Kajwang’s Senate bid

By - | January 27th 2013

By Felix Olick

KENYA: A voter in Homa Bay County wants Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang’ disqualified from running for the Senate.

Mr Edward Ochieng’ argues Kajwang was struck off as an advocate by the Law Society of Kenya and therefore does not meet the requirements of Chapter Six of the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity.

Through his lawyer, Ochieng’ told the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) dispute resolution team that ODM nominations were not conducted in Homa Bay and there were no grounds to pick the former Mbita MP as a candidate.

“Kajwang’ was struck off the roll of advocates as per Section 60 of the Advocates Act. As a result he cannot run for office considering Chapter Six of the Constitution on leadership and integrity,” he told the five-member committee.

Initially, committee chairman Thomas Letangule tried to dismiss the application arguing his committee did not have jurisdiction to hear integrity cases.

However, the advocate insisted the High Court recently ruled that it is IEBC’s role to determine the suitability of a person who can stand for elective office.

Defended himself

The High Court recently cleared Mary Wambui to contest the Othaya parliamentary seat, saying it had no jurisdiction to block a person from contesting.  But Kajwang’ defended himself saying LSK had rescinded its decision to strike him off the role of advocates.

He insisted he could only be barred from running for office through the High Court, saying the definition of integrity was also vague. “I have a constitutional right to offer myself to be voted and an appropriate procedure must be followed to take away that right. There were elections in Homa Bay County and I was not responsible for those elections,” Kajwang’ argued.

During the hearings at the Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi on Saturday, it also emerged there were no nominations in Seme constituency.

ODM Elections Board Chairman Franklin Bett said former Director of Medical Services James Nyikal got direct nomination since the primaries were disrupted.

Meanwhile, URP aspirants will face competition from former allies who decamped to other parties after losing in nominations.

Keiyo North parliamentary aspirant Mark Chesergon who defected to Kanu said controversy marred the nominations after aspirants protested over returning officers overseeing the exercise.

But Uasin Gishu URP Secretary General Rehema Korir denied the allegations saying individuals who defected were not loyal to the party.

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