Linturi, Mwangaza win petitions challenging their degrees

Linturi, Mwangaza win petitions challenging their degrees

Lawyer Linda Kiome (left) and Mr Isaac Ethingia (second left) who are Meru Senator Mithika Linturi and Meru Woman Rep Kawira Mwangaza running mates respectively, together with lawyer Dick Munene (right) outside Meru High Court on July 15, 2022 when a judge threw out petitions challenging Mr Linturi and Ms Mwangaza’s suitability to contest. 

Photo credit: Charles Wanyoro | Nation Media Group

A Meru High Court Friday July 15 dismissed petitions challenging the eligibility of Meru Woman Rep Kawira Mwangaza and Senator Mithika Linturi to contest the county’s governorship.

A petitioner, Mr Dickson Mwenda, who had claimed that Ms Mwangaza and her running mate Isaac M’Ethingia possessed forged academic papers, withdrew his case just as Justice Edward Muriithi was about to read his verdict.

The petitioner said he did not have enough evidence to prosecute his case after he lost an application to cross-examine Ms Kawira on the authenticity of her academic qualification.

The judge, however, spared him more pain after ordering he pay the parties Sh500, 000 against the Sh1.5m that the lawyers had demanded.

“This decision only concerns the petitioner hearing and does not bar any subsequent litigation… It is not in doubt that the respondents and the interested parties incurred cost in preparation and defense of the petition… Such cost should not be exorbitant or punitive to bar a party from approaching the court if they feel aggrieved,” ruled Justice Muriithi.

The judge agreed with Lawyer Charles Mwongela representing the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) who had argued that the court lacks jurisdiction to determine pre-election disputes especially after the two had been cleared to contest.

In Mr Linturi case, Justice Muriithi said the petitioner had failed to prove that the Senator held fake degree certificates to warrant revocation of his IEBC nomination certificate issued in June.

The other petitioner, Mr Joseph Karithi had alleged that Mr Linturi had used a forged KCSE result to acquire a degree, and thus it was not valid and urged the court to disqualify him.

But the judge said there was no finding by any investigative agency that the degree presented to IEBC was a forgery, fraudulently acquired or any evidence that the matter was under probe.

Justice Muriithi ruled that the petitioner did not demonstrate how his rights would be violated if Mr Linturi was allowed to exercise his political rights.

Ms Mwangaza, Mr M’Ethingia and Mr Linturi had urged the court to dismiss the petitions arguing that they were motivated by malice and only meant to derail the respondents.

Mr Linturi was represented by lawyers Mugambi Kiogora and his running mate Linda Kiome, while Mr Dickson Munene appeared for Ms Kawira and Mr M’Ethingia.