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Ruling on Mathare poll case deferred

Contestants for the Mathare parliamentary seat will wait longer before they can know if the voting date will change.

Court of Appeal judges last month  declared the seat vacant following an appeal by former Starehe MP Margaret Wanjiru’s son, Steven Kariuki. A by-election was set for June 3.

However, Mathare MP George Wanjohi went to the Supreme Court seeking an interpretation of the Court of Appeal ruling which nullified his win.

Tight schedule

Supreme Court judges were expected to give a verdict on Wednesday but postponed  it. Judge Mohamed Ibrahim said they had been hampered by the tight schedule of election petitions before them.

“I do realise we were very ambitious when we gave you April 9, as the date you were to get your ruling but due to the tight schedule and the serious issues raised, we feel we will need more time to be able to deliver a ruling which is acceptable to all parties,” he said.

The decision prompted the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission  lawyer to seek an interpretation on whether the delay will affect the 90 days period set by the Constitution as the time frame within which a vacant parliamentary seat should be filled. This period expires on June 28.

Mr Kariuki’s lawyer Nelson Havi said the court had the jurisdiction to extend the period should the ruling uphold the fact that there was need for  a by-election  and added that, “other courts have previously extended the period.”

But Mr Wanjohi’s lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui said given that there was an order stopping implementation of the Court of Appeal ruling, “even the date when the 90 days period should start counting has been suspended and will only start after the ruling has been delivered.”