The High Court in Mombasa has temporarily barred the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) from clearing former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko to contest for the Mombasa gubernatorial seat in the August polls.
Justice John Mativo issued the restraining orders on Thursday pending the hearing and determination of a petition filed by three civil society organisations; Haki Yetu, Kituo Cha Sheria and Transparency International, who want Sonko disqualified from the polls.
“I order that the IEBC and is hereby restrained from processing Sonko’s nomination papers to contest and vie for the office of the Governor of Mombasa County pending hearing and determination of this petition,” Justice Mativo said.
“Having been found unsuitable to hold the office of the Governor of Nairobi City County, Mr Sonko is equally unsuitable to hold any other state office,” the petition by Kituo Cha Sheria lawyer Grace Okumu stated.
The applicants are also seeking conservatory orders against the Wiper party over alleged violation of the constitution, arguing that despite being disqualified by Article 75 (3) of the Constitution from holding state office, Sonko expressed his intention to contest the Mombasa governorship and was nominated by the party.
“IEBC is likely to approve and clear Mr Sonko to run for the position of Governor Mombasa since he has already been nominated by the Wiper party and his name submitted to IEBC in the further perpetuation of constitutional violations and a real threat to petitioners’ constitutional rights,” the petition added.
This follows two other previous petitions in Mombasa by Ndoro Kaguya and George Odhiambo and another in Eldoret, which also sought to disqualify the controversial ex-governor from contesting the seat.
Sonko through his lawyers had later applied to have the matter transferred to Mombasa and consolidated with the other petitions already before the Mombasa court.
Ms Munira Ali, a programmes officer at Haki Yetu, states that Mr Sonko and Wiper will have converted Mombasa County into a dumping ground for rejected leaders if cleared by the commission. The case will be mentioned on May 24 for directions.