High Court to hear Jimi Wanjigi's presidential bid petition

Jimi Wanjigi

Safina Party presidential aspirant Jimi Wanjigi briefs the media at Kwacha House in Nairobi on June 7, 2022 on his disqualification from the contest.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Court however declines to stop IEBC from proceeding with printing of ballot papers until the petition is determined.
  • Mr Wanjigi wanted the court to stop the August General Election until the electoral agency is “cleaned up".

The High Court has granted Safina Party leader Jimi Wanjigi leave to challenge the electoral commission’s decision to reject his application to be cleared to run for president in the August 9 General Election.

This is after the court agreed to proceed with the hearing of his petition against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) with the matter set to be heard and determined on Thursday.

However, the court declined to stop IEBC from proceeding with printing of ballot papers until the petition is heard and determined.

The presidential hopeful moved to court seeking to stop the August 9 polls by delaying the printing of presidential ballot papers, alleging illegalities on the part of IEBC. 

He sought conservatory orders halting commencing of the process of printing of ballot papers until his petition is dispensed with.

Consequently, Mr Wanjigi wanted the court to stop the 2022 elections until the electoral agency is “cleaned up of the illegalities and constitutionalism” allegedly bedeviling it.

The businessman had stormed out of the IEBC disputes resolution committee hearings after the tribunal upheld Mr Wafula Chebukati’s decision to stop his presidential candidature on grounds that he did not have a university degree certificate. 

Through his lawyer, Fred Ngatia, Mr Wanjigi told the court that he has the required university education qualifications and that Mr Chebukati's move to disqualify him smacks of discrimination and is ill-motivated.

He cited a 2013 judgment in favour of IEBC that allowed outgoing Mombasa Governor Hassan Ali Joho to vie on the strengths of his academic transcripts that ruled a degree is a process and not just a certificate. 

At the time, Justice Isaac Lenaola, now Supreme Court judge, ruled that a graduation ceremony could not be used as a measure of having attained university education.

“In my view, what matters is that a person has attended school, undertaken the studies envisaged and has passed all the requisite exams for the conferment of the degree,” the judge said.

Consequently, he said Mr Joho satisfied the qualifications envisaged by Section 22(2) of the Elections Act. 

“I am therefore in agreement with Mr Joho that a degree is not a physical connotation but is a process whose pinnacle is the graduation,” he ruled.

Mr Wanjigi told the court that the ruling has never been challenged and thus remains to be law and hence the same should have applied in his case.

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