The fate of former Nairobi governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko’s participation in next month’s General Election now lies with the Supreme Court.

This is after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) stated that it will await the apex court’s judgment on whether or not Sonko was properly impeached by the Nairobi County Assembly’s eligibility and is thus disqualified to contest for any elective office.

The judgment is expected today.

Speaking during a televised interview on Wednesday night, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati stated: “We obey court orders and enforce them. I am aware that the issue around impeachment is at the Supreme Court and will be head perhaps tomorrow (today). We should have clarity along these lines.”

Chebukati noted that the commission operates within the law and will enforce all the court orders as they come, adding that time is too short to prolong the legal battles with candidates.

“We do not have a choice. We only have 26 days to the election and we must finish printing the ballot papers. We are even late in making changes to the ballot papers,” he said.

IEBC chief executive Marjan Hussein Marjan who accompanied Chebukati to the interview indicated that the commission had already stopped printing ballot papers for the Mombasa Governor’s race.

“As a commission, we have not made a decision on whether we are going to appeal or not. What is important for us is to wait for the Supreme Court to assert itself on this matter. The Mombasa court took the decision because of the pending case at the Supreme Court,” he said.

He went on: “There is a difference in interpretation of two sections of the law… Whereas we see one as a stand-alone, others see it as being intertwined. We only have two days, the best thing is to wait and not jump the gun.”

In disqualifying Sonko from vying in the August elections, IEBC cited Article 75(3).

“A person who is removed from office on contravention of Chapter 6 of the Constitution is disqualified from holding any other State or public office whether elective or appointive.”

However, a three-judge bench sitting in Mombasa on Wednesday ruled that Sonko has an appeal pending at the Supreme Court and has not exhausted his options for contesting his impeachment.

Hit ground running
The judges also noted that Sonko had submitted all the requisite documents to the IEBC for clearance to vie for the position of Mombasa Governor on time.

Yesterday, the Mombasa county returning officer cleared Sonko to contest the Mombasa governor’s seat in the August 9 elections, complying with the court order that had been issued by the High Court decision a day earlier.

Sonko accompanied by his running mate, Kisauni MP Ali Mbogo, lawyers and Wiper party officials arrived at the Coast IEBC offices in Kizingo, Mombasa county at about 2.30 pm where he submitted his documents and after a 20 minutes process, he was issued with a clearance certificate.

Speaking to reporters shortly after receiving the clearance certificate from Mombasa returning officer Swalha Yusuf, Sonko attributed his clearance to the pressure exerted by Mombasa residents saying his next mission is to clinch the county’s top job.

“I want to thank our supporters for standing with us, God has wiped their tears and we want to promise you that we will not let you down, we promise to conduct peaceful polls that will unite the coastal people,” said Sonko.

He said his mission is now to hit the ground running to seek votes. “We will try to restructure our campaigns and we will be making at least four meetings in every sub-county,” he said.

“I am in the race and I am confident I will win,” Sonko told reporters after getting the IEBC nomination certificate. “I am happy that our courts are effective.”

Mbogo asked their opponents to brace for a bruising battle in the race, exuding confidence that they will triumph. “We have only a few days remaining and despite the timelines, we are determined to unleash our manifesto and stage spirited campaigns across Mombasa so that residents can make a wise decision.”

He dispelled rumours that Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga had intervened to have him cleared.

“No one in the Azimio team helped us get justice in the corridors of power, it is only God who helped us to get justice in the courts,” said Sonko.

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