Activist wants four nominees to Meru assembly quashed

Meru County Assembly

Meru County Assembly during a past session. An activist has moved to court to challenge nomination of Mcas to the assembly.

Photo credit: DAVID MUCHUI I Nation Media Group

An activist has filed a constitutional petition seeking to have nominations to the Meru County Assembly under the marginalised group category quashed.

Mr Salesio Thuranira filed the case against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) at the Meru High Court and the matter was certified urgent.

Mr Thuranira argues that people with disabilities have been left out and the youth are over-represented in the assembly.

The assembly has 24 nominated members, with 20 coming in under the gender top-up list.

Four others – Benson Kiriinya, Catherine Kamathi, Kenneth Maingi and Edith Make – were nominated by the Devolution Empowerment Party (DEP), United Democratic Alliance (UDA), Jubilee and the Party of National Unity (PNU), respectively. They were nominated to represent the youth and marginalised groups.

"Marginalised group means people who because of laws or practices are disadvantaged by discrimination on one or more grounds in Article 27(4) of the Constitution ... " Mr Thuranira argues.

Constitutional provision

He adds that the IEBC breached constitutional provisions against discrimination and the Persons with Disabilities Act and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Mr Thuranira says people with disabilities comprise a sizeable portion of the Meru population and 'cannot be wished away'.

"The declaration of persons elected as MCAs of Meru County by the respondent contains a good number of youthful elected persons hence this group has good representation and does not warrant more top up through nomination of marginalised persons," he states. 

He wants the High Court to prohibit the Meru County Assembly clerk from inducting and swearing in the four MCAs nominated under the marginalised category.

Gazette notice

He also wants the IEBC to publish a corrective gazette notice to declare a new list of special seats, including males and females with disabilities. 

The matter will be heard on Tuesday afternoon, ahead of the swearing-in of Meru MCAs planned for Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Meru County Assembly is regarded to have recorded one of the highest number of the youthful members with most of those who were inducted on Monday being under 35 years.

The assembly public communication director Mercy Kubai said the MCAs were inducted ahead of their swearing in on Wednesday.

Assembly clerk Jacob Kirari said the third Assembly will have 69 members comprising 45 elected and 24 nominated MCAs.

Chamber operations

"The new members were taken through the chamber operations to familiarize with Parliamentary procedures and were also facilitated to register for various services and facilities available including medical insurance, car loan and mortgages," the clerk said.

Out of the 45 elected MCAs, only one is female representing Kirua- Naari ward. This is a decline from the two elected female MCAs in the second Assembly and five in the first Assembly.

Out of the 24 nominated MCAs two will represent the youth while two others will represent the marginalized and special interests. Another 20 MCAs have been nominated to fill the gender gap.

Seventeen MCAs have made a comeback from the second Assembly, nine having been re-elected and eight nominated for the third or second time. 

Five members have served in the first, second and third Assemblies where two are elected members and three are nominated.