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UDA in court battle over disputed MCA nominee list

The fate of 11 United Democratic Alliance (UDA) nominated Members of County Assembly (MCAs) is in limbo after the ruling party withdrew from an appeal case that is seeking to overturn a ruling delivered an Eldoret court in March.

An Eldoret court had in March 2023 ruled the nomination of the 11 MCAs was unconstitutional.

On March 19, 2023, National Assembly Deputy Speaker Gladys Boss Shollei confirmed the party had withdrawn from the case but would be seeking an audience with the top party leadership.

“I talked to the party secretary general Cleophas Malala who informed me the party has withdrawn which is very wrong because it like the party is not willing to support its list and Mr Malala said he was working to resolve the issue,

“However, the good thing is that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commision (IEBC) is still challenging this list. I will be engaging the President (William Ruto) and his Deputy (Rigathi Gachagua) as well as our party secretary general,” said Ms Shollei, the county women representative during a burial in the county.

Shollei, who doubles up as Uasin Gishu Woman Representative, noted all elected leaders in the area including MPs, Senator, Women representative, Governor and his deputy each nominated an individual in the list of MCAs.

“The truth is that all local leaders suggested names and each leader was to give one name. The party nominated some MCAs,” stated Ms Shollei.

Ms Ann Wanjiku (Chief Administrative secretary in the office of Deputy President) and Huruma ward representative Peter Wanjohi also defended the nominated MCAs, saying the party should support them.

In his ruling, the Eldoret magistrate said the IEBC had relied on a list that had been disowned by the Political Parties Tribunal, to make the nominations, hence they were illegal.

People living with disabilities in Uasin Gishu county were seen as the biggest beneficiaries of Wednesday’s ruling by Chief Magistrate Dennis Mikoyan that nullified the nomination of the 11 MCAs.

“This court has found that the list of Nominated MCAs presented to IEBC – as I found out, the nomination of the 3rd respondent (Mr Maalim) was not in compliance with the Constitution, the relevant election and nominations laws and regulations, and the party constitution,” the court ruled.

The Magistrate ruled that the only valid list of nominated MCAs by UDA was the one presented to IEBC on July 27, 2022, and not the list presented on August 24, 2022.

In his ruling, the magistrate faulted IEBC for gazetting a contested list, even after the Political Parties Tribunal advised the commission not to gazette the contested names.

The main petitioner – Celestine Naomi Chepchir Mutai challenged the list of Nominated MCAs terming it unconstitutional, since it left out genuine names of special groups, including people with disability.

The petitioner had sued IEBC and UDA as first and second respondents, together with seven interested parties.

The magistrate ruled that it was illegal for IEBC to publish the list of Nominated MCAs presented on August 24, since it had left out names of genuine members who had been approved by the Political Parties Tribunal.

“I do declare that the list for UDA Uasin Gishu County Assembly published by IEBC on its website on August 24, 2022, is illegal null, and void,” ruled the Magistrate.

The Magistrate directed IEBC to degazette the list of MCAs who were gazetted on September 9, 2022, through a gazette notice number 10712.

The court faulted IEBC for denying the petitioner the legitimate expectation to be nominated by UDA through the gender top-up category.

“It is the finding of this court that the petitioner’s legitimate expectation to be nominated by UDA as a member of the Uasin Gishu County Assembly (gender top-up) category was contravened by the respondents.

Ms Regina Chumba, who applied to be nominated but missed out, said the ruling was a big breakthrough. She said nine members of the disability group applied for nomination slots, but only three were shortlisted.

“This ruling will bring to an end the blatant exclusion of people with disabilities. For a long time, we have been discriminated against and neglected,” Ms Chumba said.

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