By PAUL OGEMBA firstname.lastname@example.org. Posted Thursday, March 21 2013 at 22:00
The electoral commission has been stopped from gazetting the names of nominated members to the County Assemblies.The High Court order locks out the political party nominees from the scheduled swearing-in of elected county representatives until a petition filed by the National Gender and Equality Commission is determined. Judges Isaac Lenaola, David Majanja and Mumbi Ngugi said in their ruling: “We direct the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission not to gazette nominees of various parties to County Assemblies until the determination of the petition. The order however does not stop the scheduled swearing-in of elected County Assembly representatives,” ruled the judges.The restraining orders are temporary until Monday next week when the judges will issue a substantive ruling on the petition by the Gender Commission.
The commission went to court under certificate of urgency claiming that IEBC had approved the list of names provided by political parties without considering constitutional provisions on gender representation.Through lawyer Jotham Arwa, the commission argued that the IEBC had violated the provisions of Article 90 of the Constitution which provides special seats for special interest groups on the basis of proportional representation by use of political parties.“IEBC has a duty to supervise the process of creation of party lists which will form the basis of the allocation of special seats but it failed to advise political parties on the constitutional requirement and went ahead to approve lists provided by the parties,” said Mr Arwa.
He said that even after the commission wrote to IEBC and got assurance that they will enforce the rule, they were shocked when they read in the press that a list had been sent to the government printer for gazetting.He accused IEBC of reverting to the old constitutional order in which party chiefs dished out nominative seats to their cronies and friends on corrupt and political grounds without regard to the purpose for which the special seats were created.Mr Arwa denied claims by IEBC that the Gender Commission was advancing a political agenda, saying that the commission was a constitutional institution whose only interest was to ensure that the law was followed.The application was supported by the Association of the Physically Disabled in Kenya (APDK) which accused the IEBC of attempting to deny them what was their constitutional right.Through lawyer Stephen Mwenesi, the association argued that it was the role of IEBC to supervise party nominations and ensure that the interests of special groups were taken care of.“The marginalised and the disabled will be greatly prejudiced if the gazetting is not stopped,” he said.