Court Tells IEBC Not to Clear Karungo Wa Thang'wa For Senate Seat

  • Deputy President William Ruto arriving at the late President Mwai Kibaki's burial in Othaya on April 30, 2022.
    Deputy President William Ruto arriving at the late President Mwai Kibaki's burial in Othaya on April 30, 2022.
  • Deputy President William Ruto's United Democratic Alliance (UDA) has suffered another blow after the High Court temporarily barred the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) from clearing Kiambu senatorial aspirant, Karungo Thang'wa, to contest in the August 9 polls.

    According to court orders seen by Anthony Mrima asked IEBC to temporarily not clear him following a petition filed by Kelvin Njui Wangari, who challenged Thang'wa's eligibility citing his impeachment as a County Executive Committee Member for Youth and Sports in 2019.

    Consequently, Mirima noted that the issues raised in the petition touched on Chapter Six of the Constitution on integrity, directing the Wafula Chebukati-led Commission from printing ballot papers with his name or symbol until the matter is heard and determined. 

    Former radio presenter Karungo Thang'wa
    Former radio presenter Karungo Thang'wa

    "Pending further orders of the expanded bench, the IEBC is hereby prohibited from clearing Paul Karungo Thang'wa to vie as a candidate for any elective office at the August 9 Gen Election and or printing ballot papers bearing his name or symbol," read the court order in part.

    Justice Mirima noted that the issue of whether or not impeached leaders can contest in an election was a legal matter that was being addressed by the Supreme Court of Kenya.

    "It relates to Chapter Six of the Constitution, especially when a public officer is impeached from office. This matter is hereby referred to the Honourable Chief Justice to be dealt with alongside the other related matters of the expanded bench of the High Court," the statement read in part.

    On his part, Thang'wa blamed his misfortunes on his opponents, whom he accused of allegedly working with the 'deep state' to frustrate his political quest.

    "Dear deep state and the opponents, we cannot be intimidated (hatutishiki sisi). Play your games, and in the end prepare your candidates for the elections. Only the people through the ballot will decide. No other shortcut!" he stated on Wednesday, May 25.

    Speaking to a, Thang'wa stated that he was not aware of the petition as he had not been served. He also denied that he had ben impeached from office, arguing that he only left after former governor, Ferdinand Waititu, was impeached.

    "There is no case here because for me, there was no impeachment. I left the job once Waititu was impeached and the law says that when a governor leaves office, he leaves together with the CECs," stated Thang'wa.

    "I am waiting to be served. I want to assure the people of Kiambu that I will fight to the very end, they should remain peaceful as we handle the matter in court."

    The ruling adds to the list of confusion after the High Court in Mombasa threw out a petition filed by two voters seeking to bar IEBC from receiving and processing ousted Nairobi governor, Mike Sonko's nomination papers.

    In the ruling, the court directed that the matter be enjoined with two other cases filed seeking to block Sonko from vying for the Mombasa gubernatorial seat.

    On May 20, Chief Justice Martha Koome, speaking during an interview with Spice FM, stated that impeached leaders should not be allowed to contest an election until the court lifts the impeachment.

    "You remain impeached until that impeachment is lifted. When you are sentenced, you are sentenced until the sentence is set aside," she explained.

    The ruling by Justice Mirima will be the first stumbling block in UDA's quest to eject the ruling party, Jubilee, as the dominant party in the Mount Kenya region.

    Former Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko during a campaign trail in Mombasa
    Former Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko during a campaign trail in Mombasa
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