Moses Kuria sues over running-mates selection

Moses Kuria

Gatundu South MP, Moses Kuria. 

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria has moved to court to challenge decision of the electoral commission to block picking of civil servants as running-mates in the forthcoming elections.

The Chama Cha Kazi party leader is also aggrieved by the Commission’s decision to limit the selection of running-mates within the sponsoring political or coalition party of the main candidate.

Through lawyer Geoffrey Omenke, the MP says the requirements violate the aspirants’ freedom to nominate a running-mate of his/her choice.

He lodged the petition after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) blocked Mr Kuria from nominating a civil servant as his running-mate in the Kiambu governorship election.

The decision of the electoral commission in Mr Kuria’s case also potentially affects the Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya coalition party flag bearer Raila Odinga.

A panel formed to select a suitable running-mate for Mr Odinga had listed Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya among those interested to be his deputy president. However, decision of the IEBC knocks Mr Munya out of the list.

In the court papers, Mr Kuria says the decision of the IEBC is based on provisions of section 43(5) of the Elections Act.

The said section of the law states that “a public officer who intends to contest an election under this act shall resign from public office at least six months before the date of election”.

IEBC, in a letter dated April 22, 2022, informed him that a running-mate must not be a civil servant. Further that the said nominee must be a member of the sponsoring political party.

The Commission emphasized that should the running-mate nominee be working in the government, the same must have resigned on or before February 9, 2022 –which is six months to the August 9 General Election. It stated that aspirants must nominate a person who complies with section 43(5) of the Elections Act.

According to Mr Kuria, the IEBC is interfering with the nomination process of running mates which is the prerogative of the governor or Presidential aspirant.

“The response of IEBC meant that my choices of a running mate are very limited and it also denied me the opportunity to nominate a well deserving candidate on the basis of him/her not having complied with the said provisions of Elections Act,” says Mr Kuria in his supporting affidavit.

He argues that the IEBC’s decision is outside the law since “Article 180(6) of the Constitution gives the Governor aspirant the prerogative of appointing a running who shall not be subjected to election process by the electoral body”.

In his view, the response of the Commission means that a running-mate must have resigned six months prior to the General Election, in anticipation that they would be nominated.

“The right to political interaction is one of the major pillars of any modern society. The discrimination in Section 43(5) of the Elections Act is absurd for it does not disclose the criteria on how a running mate should be nominated and it also determines that a person should resign on presumption of being nominated as a running mate,” says Mr Kuria.

He wants court to declare that the said section of the law is unconstitutional and pending hearing of the suit he has asked the court to issue a prohibitory order against IEBC from demanding that he submits a running mate/deputy governor on a limited scope of candidates.

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