IEBC wants petition to bar Cleophas Malala from vying trashed

Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala with Moses Wetangula, Musalia Mudavadi and Ken Lusaka after he was cleared to contest by IEBC. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

The electoral agency has filed an objection to a petition seeking to bar Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala from vying for the governor’s seat.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) argues that the Kakamega court lacks the jurisdiction to determine the case.

“We pray the petition is dismissed as it seeks to interfere and direct the IEBC and Joseph Yatta, the IEBC county returning officer, in how to carry out their mandate,” says the commission. The matter will be heard on Monday 2.30pm. Justice Patrick Otieno also ordered the two petitions filed against Malala be consolidated.

“The gist of the two petitions is as to whether Malala holds a genuine certificate and is fit to vie,” said Justice Otieno.

Fred Muka has also named the United States International University Africa (Usiu) as a respondent, claiming that the Senator did not graduate with a degree from the university. “While Malala alleges that he graduated from USIU in 2011, his degree certificate was printed and issued to him on August 10, 2019. This is eight years after the purported graduation yet ordinarily the date on a degree certificate is the day a person graduates from an institution,” he argues.

“A look at Usiu’s graduation list for 2011 shows that Malala did not feature among the graduands nor did his name feature in the graduation list for 2019.” Pending the hearing and determination of the application, Mr Muka wanted the court to issue orders restraining IEBC from entertaining, considering, processing, evaluating, clearing and registering Mr Malala as a gubernatorial candidate for the August 9 elections.

Muka cites Section 22 (2) of the Elections Act, which dictates that “for a person to be validly nominated and thereafter cleared by the electoral commission to vie for the position of the governor, he or she must be a holder of a degree certificate from an institution duly recognised in Kenya.”