August polls: Kang’ata and Igathe cleared

Irungu Kang'ata

Murang'a gubernatorial aspirant Irungu Kang'ata when he appeared before the IEBC Despute Tribunal committee on June 15, 2022.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

The electoral agency’s dispute resolution committees have cleared Mr Polycarp Igathe and Dr Irungu Kang’ata to vie for the Nairobi and Murang’a governor seats, respectively.

This emerged as Mr Mike Sonko pressed for his clearance, arguing that utterances by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairperson Wafula Chebukati that he had been impeached by the Senate over corruption and abuse of office had frustrated his bid for the Mombasa governor’s seat. 

“Utterances by Mr Chebukati influenced negatively the decision by Mombasa county returning officer Salha Ibrahim Yusuf to reject Sonko’s application for clearance,” Wiper Party lawyer Eunice Lumallas told the committee presided over by Mr Wambua Kilonzo, Mr Justus Nyang’aya and Ms Irene Masitsi.

Ms Lumallas appeared for Wiper Party alongside Mr Arnold Oginga.

But the IEBC defended the decision to bar Mr Sonko, citing his impeachment by the Senate on December 20, 2020. 

The committee also heard Mr Sonko did not produce an original degree certificate from Kemu University as required under the check list.

However, Mr Sonko’s lawyers, Dr John Khaminwa, Mr Wilfred Nyamu, Mr Assa Nyakundi and Mr Kevin Katisya argued that the returning officer had been  informed about an appeal at the Supreme Court challenging Mr Sonko’s impeachment.

The complaints filed against Mr Igathe and Dr Kang’ata were dismissed for lack of tangible evidence to warrant the committees to revoke their clearance.

A petitioner, Mr George Bush, had sought to have Mr Igathe, the Azimio flag bearer, barred on allegations that “he abdicated his deputy governorship position without notice”.

Mr Igathe, who had been elected as Mr Sonko’s deputy in the 2017 elections quit over what he termed poor relations with his boss.

The committee said it could not revoke Mr Igathe’s on the strength of a letter of complaint.

The Mr Kilonzo-led committee said Mr Bush presented the letter to Nairobi county returning officer Albert Gogo on June 8 after the nominee had been cleared.

The development came as Mr Igathe’s main rival, United Democratic Alliance city governorship flag bearer Johnson Sakaja, suffered a major blow after his degree certificate was denounced by the Commission for University Education (CUE).

Five other governorship aspirants are also battling petitions questioning their  degree certificates.

Mr Granton Samboja (Taita Taveta), Mr Simba Arati (Kisii) and Ms Wavinya Ndeti (Machakos), who had initially been cleared to vie for the top county seat, are fighting for clearance at the IEBC’s dispute resolution committees.

Also facing questions about the authenticity of their degree certificates separately at the High Court are Mr Cleophas Malala (Kakamega) and Mr Mithika Linturi (Meru).

Two voters, Mr Gideon Ngewa Kenya and Mr Kisilu Mutisya, want the IEBC’s disputes resolution committee to revoke Ms Ndeti’s clearance over claims that she is not qualified to vie for the position.

In the complaint, the voters have alleged that the Wiper Democratic Party candidate does not have a university degree.

In Kisii, two complaints have been filed against Mr Arati, the ODM party Governorship candidate.

Two voters, Moses Ayieko and Wesley Obwang'i, have claimed Mr Arati is not a graduate of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology and that the academic documents in his possession are a forgery.

Mr Jeremiah Kiwoi has faulted the IEBC for clearing Mr Samboja to defend his Taita-Taveta governor’s seat, arguing that Kenyatta University has disowned the degree the governor had presented to the agency.

In Kakamega, two voters, Mr Frankline Shilingi and Mr Fred Muka, allege Mr Malala never graduated from the United States International University (USIU) as he has been claiming.

Mr Linturi’s eligibility to contest the Meru governor’s seat has also been challenged in the courts.

The complainants claim that Mr Linturi forged academic documents from the Marathwada University, now known as Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University in Aurangabad, Maharashtra State in the Republic of India. The matter is pending at the High Court.

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