Relief for Sonko, Thang’wa and Arama as court dismisses petition to block their candidature

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Former Nairobi County Governor Mike Sonko (center) with his lawyers at Milimani Law Courts at a past date. Photo/Suek

It is a relief former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and two other politicians accused of integrity issues after the High Court dismissed a case seeking to bar them from contesting in the August 9 elections.

Judges David Majanja, Chacha Mwita and Mugure Thande ruled that the nine petitions were filed prematurely.

The petitions targeted Sonko, Kiambu UDA senatorial candidate Paul Thang’wa and Nakuru town West MP Samuel Arama.

The three-judge bench ruled that the petitions ought to have first been resolved at the IEBC dispute resolution committee.

“The jurisdiction of this court should not be invoked until the mechanisms before the IEBC are exhausted,” the bench ruled.

The judges added that the Supreme Court had affirmed that it is the jurisdiction of the IEBC to resolve pre-election disputes before the decision is appealed to the High Court.

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According to the judges, the net effect of this decision is that pre-election disputes such as those regarding suitability and eligibility for nomination of candidates must be resolved by the IEBC in the first instance.

“The High Court’s jurisdiction is only triggered once the IEBC makes a decision on the issue,” the bench added.

In addition, the judges noted that the IEBC dispute resolution committee process was invoked and it must be allowed to run its course after which the court can be moved.

“We find and hold that the petitions relating to the nomination process concerning Mike Sonko, Paul Thang’wa and Samuel Arama are premature. We therefore decline jurisdiction.” Ruled the judges.