Former Kenyan footballer, McDonald Mariga might miss out on the Kibra Constituency by-elections on grounds that the aspirant’s name could not be traced in the voters’ registration data.
It is alleged that Mariga, who won the Jubilee party nominations, rushed to Kariokor on August 26 to register as a voter, nearly two weeks after the Kibra Seat was declared vacant.
This has also exposed the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officials who gave directions for Mariga to be cleared despite the aspirant’s name missing on the voters’ registration list.
The IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati and his two commissioners had directed the Returning officer Beatrice Muli to clear the Ex-footballer for the seat, but the officer defied the orders and invalidated Mariga’s candidature.
“We have invalidated Mariga’s nomination,” Muli declared.
“Mine was to confirm that the aspirant meets requirements. I have verified and checked and I could not find his details. At this point my hands are tied,” the returning officer added.
Muli would have been held accountable for electoral malpractice if in case she had cleared Mariga, which would have landed her to face legal charges.
An IEBC official opined that Muli was only protecting her job and she did it in the right way.
“The law is very clear that IEBC election officials will be held personally liable for any electoral offense. She refused to commit an offense,” the official said.
Muli advised Mariga to seek redress from IEBC Disputes Resolution Board.
However, the declaration spurred reactions from a couple of leaders especially from the Jubilee Party who confronted the commission terming it as incompetent.
“He is registered by the voter register they were using was that of 2017. Administrative incompetence of the IEBC should not deny Mariga his democratic right of contesting for the seat,” said Lang’ata MP, Nixon Korir.
Mariga might also find himself in trouble as it is alleged that he changed the age on his original Identity card, a similar incidence that made Kethi Kilonzo be locked out of the Makueni Senatorial seat.
Mariga’s clearance is still pending but he still has seven days to make an appeal to the IEBC board.
If the clearance is not successful, other Jubilee Candidates might be locked out from vying for the Kibra seat, giving close competitors an upper hand.
So far, the IEBC has cleared 15 candidates to run for the Kibra seat, out of 30 candidates who had presented their papers to the commission.