Inua Mlemavu Org chair seeks to be enjoined in presidential petition, says elections were not fair for disabled

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The Supreme Court of Kenya

The Chairperson of Inua Mlemavu Organisation is seeking to be enjoined in the ongoing presidential election petition as an interested party.

Michael Mutembei alias Makarina supports the petition arguing that the persons living with disability were excluded from the August 9 election.

Through lawyer Danstan Omari, Makarina claims that the elections were unfairly conducted to the larger exclusion of persons living with disability who were unable to access the various polling stations on the material day due to lack of proper access despite timeous protests from the members of Inua Mlemavu.

Makarina argued that none of the parties in the instant proceedings will be prejudiced should he be enjoined in the petition as the interest of justice tilt towards granting him an opportunity to be heard on his behalf and that of other disabled Kenyans who by virtue of their disability experienced difficulties in exercising their right to universal suffrage as a consequence of hostile environment created by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

In his supporting affidavit, the applicant claims that on 13th October 2021, wrote to the IEBC raising a number of concerns including that the locations of the voter registration exercises were not accessible by wheelchair users.

“We also sought to establish the reason the 1st respondent (IEBC) was not using sign language interpreters in the places of voter registration to aid persons with disability or hearing impairment,” Makarina said.

The applicant further accuses IEBC of failing to respond to the queries that were raised leading to the disenfranchisement of many persons living with disability as many were unable to register as voters consequently being disenfranchised from the electoral process.

“As a result of the 1st respondent’s disregard of the rights and fundamental freedoms of persons living with disability, the situation was exacerbated during the August 9 elections as the Inua Mlemavu Initiative received an avalanche of complaints citing frustrated attempts accessing the polling stations to vote due to lack of adequate facilities to access the polling stations,” Makarina added.

The Chairperson added that it is clear that the elections conducted on August 9th 2022 were not free and fair to all persons.

“There is an urgent need for this honourable court to briskly consider this application so that I am able to assist the court in establishing whether indeed the already concluded elections were conducted freely and fairly to all persons,” Makarina said.

The petition was filed by Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his running mate Martha Karua contesting the win of his competitor William Ruto.

Among the prayers sought by the two is the Supreme to declare Ruto’s win null and void.