Blow for Ruto's UDA as court nullifies nomination of 11 MCAs in Uasin Gishu
President William Ruto's United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party has suffered a blow after an Eldoret court on Wednesday nullified its nomination of 11 MCAs to the Uasin Gishu County Assembly, terming it illegal.
On Wednesday, Eldoret Chief Magistrate Dennis Mikoyan said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had relied on a list that had been disowned by the Political Parties Tribunal.
Eldoret Chief Magistrate Dennis Mikoyan termed the nominations by the President’s party illegal, after the Political Parties Tribunal advised IEBC not to gazette the names, following protests from a section of People with Disabilities (PWDs).
“This court has found that the list of Nominated MCAs presented to IEBC - as I found out, the nomination of the 3rd respondent (Mr Maalim) was not in compliance with the Constitution, the relevant election and nominations laws and regulations, and the party constitution,” Mr Wasike observed.
The Magistrate ruled that the only valid list of nominated MCAs by UDA was the one presented to IEBC on July 27, 2022, and not the list presented on August 24, 2022.
In his ruling, the magistrate faulted IEBC for gazetting a contested list, even after the Political Parties Tribunal advised the commission not to gazette the contested names.
The main petitioner - Celestine Naomi Chepchir Mutai challenged the list of Nominated MCAs terming it unconstitutional, since it left out genuine names of special groups, including people with disability.
The petitioner had sued IEBC and UDA as first and second respondents, together with seven interested parties.
The magistrate ruled that it was illegal for IEBC to publish the list of Nominated MCAs presented on August 24, since it had left out names of genuine members who had been approved by the Political Parties Tribunal.
“I do declare that the list for UDA Uasin Gishu County Assembly published by IEBC on its website on August 24, 2022, is illegal null, and void,” ruled the Magistrate.
The Magistrate directed IEBC to degazette the list of MCAs who were gazetted on September 9, 2022, through a gazette notice number 10712.
The court faulted IEBC for denying the petitioner the legitimate expectation to be nominated by UDA through the gender top-up category.
“It is the finding of this court that the petitioner’s legitimate expectation to be nominated by UDA as a member of the Uasin Gishu County Assembly (gender top-up) category was contravened by the respondents.
The court further directed respondents to pay petitioners' costs and incidentals to the petition.
The petitioner who was fronted by people with disabilities challenged the UDA party to stand for the rights of people with disabilities.
They had told the court that some of the people who were nominated by the party as people living with disabilities were not disabled people as indicated by their party.
The court observed that the list presented to IEBC on July 27 was legitimate as opposed to what IEBC termed legitimate.
In their response, IEBC told the court that the list presented on July 27, 2022, was not final as it met all the requirements of the election general regulation of 2017.
IEBC insisted that UDA had requested the uploading of a new nomination list after uploading the one posted on July 27.
“UDA requested us on August 1 to upload a new final list of party nominations which we did as per the will of the party and the law,” stated IEBC in the replying affidavit.
Immediately after the ruling in favor of the petitioner, people with disabilities who had packed the court burst into song and dance, praising the court for the ruling.
In September 2022 representatives of people with disabilities in Uasin Gishu complained that the UDA had excluded them from nominations to the county assembly.
They appealed to President Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua to intervene in the matter.
They had considered suing to stop the swearing-in of ward reps but resolved to petition the party because they lacked the money to pay lawyers.
Human rights activist Regina Chumba, representing people with disabilities said she had applied to be nominated but missed out due to alleged corruption. Ms Chumba was among members of the disabled community that thronged the court on Wednesday during the ruling.
Already the affected MCAs have indicated that they will appeal the ruling in the High Court.
“We are moving to the High Court to challenge this ruling,” said one of the affected MCAs.