Court lacks jurisdiction to order IEBC to stop me from vying, Sonko tells judge

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko [File]

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko has said that the High Court in Mombasa lacks jurisdiction to hear a petition seeking to bar him from contesting for the Mombasa governor seat.

Sonko told Justice John Mativo that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is the one vested with the mandate to determine his eligibility to vie for a political seat or not.

Through his lawyer Jared Magolo, he wants Justice Mativo to strike out the petition filed by two petitioners in Mombasa. 

"We have filed our objection seeking to have the entire petition struck out since the nature of the petition before court raises questions of jurisdiction and the court has no mandate to hear the petition," said Mr Magolo.

Ndoro Kaguya and George Odhiambo, filed the petition before Justice Mativo seeking conservatory orders stopping IEBC from clearing Sonko to vie for governor.

The petitioners claimed that despite Sonko being disqualified, Wiper Democratic Movement on April 21, nominated him to vie for Mombasa governor in the August 9 General Election.

“By nominating Sonko to vie for and be elected into the office of the Governor of Mombasa County, Wiper Democratic Movement contravened and violated Article 75 (3) of the Constitution,” said Mr Kaguya.

IEBC through lawyer Edwin Mukele said it was yet to receive Sonko’s nomination papers from Wiper.

“On behalf of my client we require more time to verify with the Wiper Democratic Movement party if indeed Sonko has been given nominations papers. We require that piece of evidence as part of our response and further seek leave to confirm if IEBC has received the names of Sonko and further await the commission to confirm on the extension of nominations on a gazette notice," said Mr Mukele.

The lawyer said that the commission had filed a memorandum of appearance and needed more time to file substantive response to issues raised in the petition. 

“The commission needed time to verify if indeed Sonko had received nomination papers from the Wiper Democratic party apart from what has been reported on the mainstream media and social media. This is yet to be done in a formal way,” said Mr Mukele. 

He further informed the court that he was yet to receive any formal communication on the extension of the commissions’ deadline to submit names of those nominated by political parties to IEBC and names of those cleared.

Yesterday the two petitioners through their lawyer Willis Oluga sought more time to amend their petition after IEBC extended the nomination period to May 5 from April 28.

Mr Oluga applied for more time to amend the petition to confine to Article 75 of the Constitution.

On Monday, the petitioners sought conservatory orders restraining IEBC from accepting Sonko's nomination to contest for Mombasa governor.

Mr Kaguya said Sonko was on December 17, 2020 removed from the office of the Governor of Nairobi City County by way of impeachment for violating and contravening, inter alias Article 75 (1) (c) of the Constitution because he behaved in a manner that demeaned the office of a county governor which he was holding at the time.

He said the former governor is disqualified from holding any other State office including the office of the Governor of Mombasa County by virtue of Article 75 (3) of the Constitution.

“Having been found unsuitable to hold the office of the Governor of Nairobi City County, Sonko is equally unsuitable to hold the office of the Governor of Mombasa County,” said Kaguya.

In a sworn affidavit, Mr Kaguya said the impeachment was upheld by the High Court and Court of Appeal on the basis that it was lawful and procedurally fair.

The petitioners averred that there can be no regular elections in instances such as the present one where the candidate to be elected is not qualified for the office he is seeking.

He said the interim conservatory orders will protect voters of Mombasa county and the public from being hoodwinked into believing that Sonko is qualified and competent to run for and be elected into the office of the governor of Mombasa county.

“The nomination of Sonko with the intention of contesting for and being elected into the office of the Governor of Mombasa county yet he is disqualified from holding any State office amounts to irregular elections and the same is therefore in utter violation of the petitioners' right to fair and regular elections as guaranteed by Article 3,” said Mr Kaguya.

Justice Mativo allowed the petitioners to serve all parties and also directed the matter be heard today.

"Leave to file and serve the respondents is hereby granted by close of business...," said Justice Mativo.