Barely 24 hours to the Kibra constituency by-election slated for November 7th, the High Court of Kenya has ordered that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) immediately release the voters’ register to the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).
Justice James Makau ruled that in failing to provide an updated register, the IEBC had violated the rights of the party and contravened electoral laws of the land. The vote is occasioned by the death of sitting Member of Parliament Kenneth Okoth, who lost his battle to cancer in July 2019.
Through its lawyer Jackson Awele, the party had moved to court on Monday, citing legal and procedural violations by the commission as regards the upcoming electoral process.
It petitioned the court to order the electoral commission to publish the Kibra Constituency voters’ register on the commission’s online portal and in all polling stations as required by law.
According to the party, the names of several eligible voters were missing from the register. Kibra residents have also raised concerns that the register was unavailable for public review in designated polling stations.
As per the dictates of the Elections Act, 2011 6(2), the IEBC is required to avail the register for inspection by the public ahead of any polling exercise.
The Kibra constituency, situated within Nairobi County, is home to 178,000-odd people and comprises the Kibera slums as well as adjacent estates: It was hived from the larger Lang’ata constituency prior to the 2013 general election.
While it is a historical opposition and ODM stronghold, the by-election is expected to be hotly contested. 24 candidates are set to vie for the vacant National Assembly seat but it is, for all intents and purposes, a two-horse race between the Jubilee candidate and ex-Tottenham player, Mcdonald Mariga and ODM flagbearer, Imran Okoth, the late MPs brother.
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