High court quashes petition challenging election of Murang’a assembly speaker.

The High Court in Murang’a on Monday dismissed a petition challenging election of the county assembly speaker Nduati Kariuki.

Justice Hatari Waweru said his court lacks jurisdiction to hear and determine the petition giving Kariuki a reprieve.

In the ruling on the petition lodged by three individuals who contested the speaker’s slot, Waweru ruled that a dispute arising from the election of the speaker of a county assembly must be resolved as provided in the Elections Act.

The petition had been lodged by former Gatanga MP Humphrey Kimani Njuguna, lawyer Charles Njuru Kihara and Murang’a Jubilee party chairman Simon Gikuru Kamau who moved to court seeking to challenge the election of Kariuki citing electoral anomalies.

Question as to the validity of the election of a member of the county assembly shall be heard and determined by a resident magistrate court designated by the chief magistrate, ruled the Judge.

He said that to allow an electoral dispute to be transmuted into a petition for the vindication of fundamental rights of the constitution, or through judicial review proceedings, in our respectful opinion, carries the risk of opening up a parallel electoral dispute resolution regime.

Waweru added that such a move would not only complicate but ultimately defeat the character of electoral dispute resolution mechanisms.

The Vital role of electoral dispute settlement is in the progressive governance set up of the current constitution he said.

The respondents, Kariuki, clerk to the assembly Chris Kinyanjui and Murang’a county assembly were ordered to pay for the suit.

The three moved to court to contest election of the speaker which was conducted on September 4 last year after those who nominated them were barred from participating in the election on grounds they had not been gazetted as provided in law.

Source: Kenya News Agency