Court Rules on Petition to Have None of the Above Option in IEBC Ballot

  • The Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi as pictured on November 18, 2019
    The Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi as pictured on November 18, 2019
    Simon Kiragu
    Kenyans.co.ke
  • The High Court, on Thursday, July 28, quashed a petition seeking to include the option 'none of the above' on the election ballot papers. 

    Justice Hillary Chemitei of the Nakuru High Court rejected the petition filed by Boniface Mwai in November 2021. 

    He ruled that the petition lacked merit in its claim and was not founded on the provisions of the Constitution. 

    Such an amendment, he ruled, was within the jurisdiction of the Parliament as the body mandated to formulate and review laws. 

    Undated image of IEBC ballot boxes after voters had cast their votes
    Undated image of IEBC ballot boxes after voters had cast their votes
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    “I disallow the petition because I do not find it meritorious in terms of its claims, which are not founded in our Constitution, Parliament should be the one dealing with the issues to with changing laws,” Justice Chemitei ruled. 

    Mwai had argued that the choice would offer more options for voters as it would enable them to express dissatisfaction with incompetent candidates. 

    He wanted the selection to be presented on the ballot paper by an acronym labeled 'NOTA'. 

    The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) objected to the proposal arguing that it would have affected its way of conducting elections.   

    According to IEBC, including the choice would lead to confusion.

    The commission further maintained that the Constitution does not envisage abstaining as an option and thus urged the court to deem it inconsequential.  

    Mwai's petition was among the many cases IEBC faced at the onset of the elections.

    IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati had decried the backlog of cases against the commission in July, stating that the cases risked compelling the commission to postpone elections in the affected areas. 

    Commissioner Guliye on regretting IEBC job
    Commissioner Abdi Guliye, left, and IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati, center, addressing the media
    Citizen Digital