IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati and his two commissioners were allegedly compromised in order to clear footballer Mariga for the Kibra by-election.
Chebukati ignored advice from the legal team and ordered the returning officer in Kibra to clear Mariga. This was even after both the legal and ICT teams advised the commissioners that Mariga, who is being fronted by DP William Ruto, should not be cleared because he had not been duly registered.
The two teams explained that Mariga, who had not been registered previously anywhere, dashed to Kariakor on August 26 where he applied for registration, nearly two weeks after National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi had declared the seat vacant.
According to section 5 (1)b of the Elections Act, all electoral activities including voter registration must stop upon declaration of a vacancy.
“Mariga applied for registration on August 26 after the vacancy was declared on August 14 and IEBC gazetted the by-election on August 16, two days later. By law, the application must be brought to headquarters and all details confirmed before they can be put in the voters’ roll. Once that is done the register will have to be gazetted.
In this case, Mariga’s application is still pending. He cannot, therefore, be cleared to vie,” said an IEBC official. But Muli declined to clear the ex-footballer because his name was missing from the voter’s roll.
But despite the written opinion by the legal team, commissioners — Chebukati, Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu — met on Wednesday and ordered Beatrice Muli, the returning officer, to clear Mariga. Insiders intimate that the three were bribed by Ruto’s wing to clear Mariga despite the anomalies.
But Muli declined to clear the ex-footballer because his name was missing from the voter’s roll. It is understood that Muli also feared that she would be held personally liable for any election malpractice.
The law is very clear that IEBC election officials will be held personally liable for any electoral offence. She refused to commit an offence,” said another IEBC official.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission barred Mariga from presenting his nomination papers after the last-minute discovery that his name was missing from the register of voters.
Mariga now has seven days to appeal.
But his troubles did not come as a surprise and have been a matter for speculation within Jubilee circles. The Tuju led wing are said to have leaked to a section of the media that Mariga only registered as a voter two weeks ago for purposes of the Kibra poll.
Mariga was listed as a voter in Kariakor and may not be considered as a registered voter in Kenya just yet because the updated register has not been gazetted as required by law.
Unconfirmed reports also indicate that Mariga could have changed his age in his original ID card that may put him in legal problems.
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