A petition by a Nairobi-based lawyer to have Roots Party candidate George Wajackoyah disqualified from the presidential race for allegedly breaching the law by encouraging the growth and sale of bhang has been thrown out by the High Court.
Justice Hedwig Ong’udi said the suit by Bernard Odero Okello, a lawyer, was prematurely filed in court.
The judge said that according to the election regulations, the lawyer should have lodged the petition at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) instead of court.
She stated that the IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati, in nominating Prof Wajakoyah as a presidential candidate made a legal decision that was subject to be challenged using the set out legal procedures.
"I find Okello did not follow or even attempt to follow the set-out process for dispute resolution under the Elections Act and IEBC Act. For that reason he clothed the claim as a constitutional petition while in actual fact the issue being challenged is the nomination of Wajakoyah as a presidential candidate by the IEBC chairman," said Justice Ong'undi.
"All these rules and regulations were not enacted for the sake of it, they are meant to guide Kenyans on what should be done before, during and after the elections," said the judge.
She stated that the IEBC's decision to nominate Wajakoyah to vie for the presidency still stands. In addition, what was before the court was neither an appeal nor a review.
"This petition was filed prematurely before the exhaustion of the dispute Resolution process. I, therefore, find merit in the preliminary objections raised by Wajackoyah and IEBC. The petition and application are struck out," Justice Ong'undi said.
Okello had moved to court early this month after feeling aggrieved by Prof Wajackoyah’s message about the trade of bhang, rearing of snakes, and harvesting and sale of wild animals’ body parts.
Lawyer wanted Wajackoyah declared mentally unfit
He also wanted the court to declare the aspirant mentally unfit to hold public office.
Lawyer Okello wanted the court to declare that Prof Wajackoyah’s intentions are unconstitutional, regressive and present a threat to the Constitution as well as the constitutional order.
He had also wanted the court to order the presidential candidate to retract all “untrue” statements in his manifesto and those made in a public gathering.
Okello claimed that after Prof Wajackoyah’s clearance on June 17, some pitfalls emerged, which came to the fore when he released his manifesto.
Wajackoyah said when elected the next president of Kenya he would legalise bhang, promote snake farming, export dog meat, hang the corrupt and suspend the constitution.
He has pledged to shut down the Standard Gauge Railway, promote a four-day work week, move the capital from Nairobi to Isiolo, create eight states and depot, idle foreigners.