It’s a relief to Murang'a Women Representative Sabina Chege after the High Court stopped the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission from hearing her case over the vote-rigging claims remarks she made at a political rally.
Justice Anthony Mrima quashed the summons issued to her by IEBC saying that the electoral body does not have powers to issue summons and that the IEBC code of conduct does not apply because candidates were yet to be determined.
“An order of prohibition is hereby issued against the respondent (IEBC) from proceeding with the hearing of the case,” the Judge ruled.
Chege had appeared before the commission over utterances made by herself in Vihiga County, suggesting that Jubilee rigged the 2017 poll result.
Through lawyers James Orengo and Otiende Amollo, she had sued IEBC claiming the proceedings commenced against her by IEBC were in bad faith.
The IEBC Electoral Code of Conduct Enforcement Committee on February 15, had dismissed the objections raised by Chege's lawyers and directed the case to proceed to a full hearing.
In her suit papers, however, she claimed that the proceedings were commenced in a bid to embarrass and tarnish her name.
She claimed IEBC declined to name the complainant in the matter despite indicating that it had in its possession a video/audio clip forming the crux of the complaint against her.
According to the MP, IEBC ignored questions of jurisdiction that she had raised and only responded to a single point out of five that she had raised through her lawyers.
“IEBC did not have jurisdiction under the Elections Act and the Constitution to summon me or subject me to the impugned process," she claimed in court documents.
It was her contention that Article 73 of the constitution provides that authority assigned to a state officer is a public trust and is to be exercised in a manner that demonstrates respect for the people, brings honour and dignity to the office and promotes public confidence in the integrity of the office.
“The respondent's actions are not likely to promote confidence in the integrity of the commission because despite being enjoined to respect and apply the law correctly, it has proceeded to assume nonexistent jurisdiction and use the law to harass me despite not having subscribed to the code,” she claims.
She said IEBC is clearly intent on frustrating her right to participate in elections in any capacity should she choose to do.
She argued that the Electoral code of conduct is only bound to those who have subscribed to it and that to subscribe, a candidate had to follow the procedure outlined in the code.