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Johnson Sakaja, Celophas Malala cleared to vie, Mike Sonko barred

Gubernatorial aspirants Johnson Sakaja and Cleophas Malala have been cleared to contest by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

All gazetted by the electoral body is Oscar Sudi who is gunning to retain the Kapseret parliamentary seat.

Missing out though is Mombasa Governor seat aspirant Mike Sonko.

Sonko, a controversial politician who was impeached as Nairobi governor in 2020, has seen his interest in the top county seat punctured by a number of legal battles.

So has Sakaja and Malala who are gunning for the Nairobi and Kakamega seats respectively.

Sakaja is battling to defend a University Degree he reportedly acquired from Teams University in Kampala while Malala also is on the spot over his Degree from the United States International University – Africa in Nairobi.

Sudi has issues with his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) certificate but that is not a requirement for a candidate seeking a parliamentary seat. Things could change though, if he is convicted.

According to the IEBC gazette notice, the Mombasa Governor seat will be contested by Bollo Hezron Awiti (Vibrant Democratic Party), Hassan Omar (UDA), Jama Amin Ali (PAA), Mwaruwa Abdalla Hemed (Independent), Nzaro Salim Omar (UPIA), Nassir Abdullswamad Sheriff (ODM) and Omari Said Abdalla (Usawa Kwa Wote Party).

Sonko has a pending case before a three judge bench in a court in Mombasa, and the IEBC disputes tribunal has not yet cleared him to vie.

According to the tribunal, Sonko failed to submit his original degree certificate as well as a certified copy of the same, in breach of article 75 of the Kenyan constitution.

The tribunal also heard that although Sonko had presented copies that had been certified by his advocate during the last poll, the degree requirement in 2022 applied to all candidates.

The IEBC had also barred Sonko from vying following his impeachment in 2018.

For Mr Sakaja, his win at the tribunal came after a series of allegations over the authenticity of his degree, which he claims to have acquired from Team University in Uganda.

Upholding Nairobi County Returning Officer Albert Gogo’s decision to clear Mr Sakaja, the tribunal said it could not fault him as they had no reason to doubt the authenticity of the degree presented by the city senator.

“This committee and IEBC have no tools to establish the authenticity of the degree certificate presented by Sakaja,” stated the tribunal panel led by lawyer George Mburugu sitting with Juliana Cherera (IEBC vice-chairperson) and Commissioner Boya Molu.

The tribunal added that Mr Sakaja’s clearance was in accordance with the law and neither Mr Gogo nor IEBC can be faulted for clearing him.

According to electoral commission chair Wafula Chebukati the only way to reverse Sakaja’s clearance is by overturning the decision of the tribunal through a court order.