1.The Applicant’s Judicial Review application herein seeks the following orders:a)An order of Certiorari to remove into this Honourable Court and quash the decision of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Dispute Resolution Committee made on 17th June 2022 dismissing the ex-parte Applicant’s complaint thereby disqualifying the ex-parte candidature for the Member of County Assembly, Karumandi Ward.b)An order of Certiorari to remove into this Honourable Court and quash the decision of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Dispute made on 1st June 2022 clearing the 3rd Respondent to contest for the member of County Assemble, Karumandi Ward as the Interested Party’s candidate.c)An order of prohibition restraining the 2nd Respondent from printing the ballot papers bearing the 3rd Respondent’s name or undertaking any further step in preparation for 9th August 2022 general election in which the 3rd Respondent is a candidate for the position of Member of County Assembly, Karumandi Ward, Gichugu Constituency.d)An order of Mandamus compelling the 2nd Respondent to clear, register and gazette the name of the ex-parte Applicant as the duly nominated candidate of the Interested party for the 9th August, 2022 General Elections.e)Any other order that the court may deem fit and just to grant.f)The costs of and occasioned by this Application.
2.The application was filed under certificate in Milimani High Court on 22nd June 2022, and transferred by order of the Court on 23rd June, 2022, for hearing in Kerugoya High Court, as the elective office and the parties are in Kirinyaga County. The file was received on 28th June, 2022 and certified urgent. Directions were forthwith issued for the service of the substantive suit and filing of responses thereto by all respondents. In addition, due to the urgency of the matter, parties were directed to file written submissions, and appear for hearing on 30th June, 2022. Parties complied, and by consent it was agreed that the hearing proceed by reliance on documents only, and oral hearing was waived.
3.The order sought to be reviewed is the decision of the IEBC Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) Panel 1 in Complaint No. 243 of 2022. There, the IEBC DRC found that it had no jurisdiction to intervene in political party disputes and dismissed the complaint.
4.The Applicant/Complainant’s complaint there was that being an Aspiring candidate in the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party ticket for the Kerugoya Ward in Gichugu Constituency, the UDA Party Nominations of 14th 2022 April, were marred by malpractices. He thus duly filed a complaint in the UDA Party’s Electoral and Nomination Dispute Resolution Committee (ENDRC) which, on 18th April, 2022 ordered repeat nominations (ExbJ MN 1). He alleges he won the re-nomination.
5.Eventually, the dispute found its way in a complaint before the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal (PPDT), which nullified his competitor’s (3rd Respondent’s) Party Nomination certificate by orders of the PPDT dated 30th April and 20th 2022, May. As a result, he was issued his Party’s Nomination Certificate, which he presented to the IEBC Returning Officer, the 2nd Respondent.
6.The IEBC Returning Officer however declined to clear him, on the ground that his competitor’s name was on both the CRMS at the instance of his party, UDA; and was also in the Gazette Notice already published by the IEBC. According to him, the law did not allow IEBC to clear two candidates from the same party for the same electoral position.
7.Dissatisfied, the applicant filed a complaint with the IEBC Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC), established for that purpose. The IEBC DRC in its Decision dated 17th June, 2022, declined to clear the complainant saying it lacked jurisdiction to determine the complaint relating to party disputes.
8.In her replying affidavit, the 3rd Respondent, Caroline Muriithi, admits that a repeat poll was conducted in one polling station, but denies that the applicant won; that the applicant filed proceedings in the PPDT, which nullified her election and referred the matter to the UDA Elections Board to make a decision as to the winner; that she was again declared the winner and was issued with the Party Nomination certificate; that her name was forwarded to the IEBC and she was gazzetted; that the PPDT’s order did not direct the IEBC to substitute her name with the applicant’s name, or direct that her name be withdrawn
9.The 3rd respondent added that following her gazettement, the Returning Officer’s only duty was to ascertain she was qualified; that the applicant’s case in the IEBC DRC was incompetent.
10.Further, she alleged that the applicant was in any event unqualified and exhibited as ‘CM1’ a judgment in from Gichugu PM’s Court Criminal Case No 415 of 2013 in which the applicant was convicted of conspiracy to defraud contrary to section 317 of the Penal Code, and Making a document without authority contrary to section 357 of the Penal Code. He was sentenced to one (1) year imprisonment on each count.
11.The Returning Officer filed a replying affidavit on behalf of the 1st and 2nd Respondents. He stated that pursuant to Gazette Notice No 435 of 20th January 2022, aspirants for MCA office were required to present their nomination papers between 1st and 7th June 2022; that on 1st June 2022 the 3rd respondent presented her nomination papers which were in order; and that he also ascertained that she was the nominated aspirant for the UDA Party as per the list submitted by that Party to the IEBC.
12.He added that on 2nd June 2022, he received a letter dated 31st May, 2022, from Mitei & Mitei Advocates to the effect that the 3rd respondent’s nomination had been nullified by the PPDT; that he could not act on the said letter as he had already issued a Certificate of Nomination and submitted her name to IEBC; that the applicant later lodged a complaint with the IEBC DRC which dismissed the complaint on 17th June 2022; and that the present application lacks merit.
13.In his submissions, the issues the complainant seeks determined are:a)Whether the decision of the 2nd Respondent to clear and register the 3rd Respondent to contest but deny the applicant clearance was legal fair and reasonable.b)Whether the IEBC DRC’s dismissal of the complaint meets the threshold of legality fairness, and reasonableness and proportionality.c)Whether the Applicant is entitled to the orders sought.d)Who bears costs.The issues raised by the applicant concern the propriety of the decisions of the 2nd Respondent (IEBC) and the 1st Respondent (IEBC-DRC)
14.I have carefully considered the documentation availed by the parties, their submissions and authorities filed. I will not refer herein to all the authorities, but have considered them. I now deal with the issues raised.
The propriety of the 2nd Respondent’s denial to clear the Applicant
15.The court’s role in judicial review is to examine the legality of the dispute and not to examine and determine the contested matters of evidence. This was well put by Mativo, J in Republic v National Transport & Safety Authority & 10 others Ex parte James Maina Mugo  e KLR where it was held:
16.In the case of C.C.K. vs Royal Media Services Ltd  eKLR the Supreme Court recognized that the power of Judicial Review emanates from the constitution. The court painted the clearest picture of the evolved nature of Judicial Review in Kenya when it found that:
17.In his Handbook on Judicial Review 6th Edition, Michael Fordham opines that:
18.It is in light of the foregoing, that the decision of the Returning Officer is to be viewed. He had in his possession the Gazette Notice No 435 of 2022. It is titled: Notice of Election for Members of the County Assemblies and is issued by the Chairman, IEBC, under The Elections (General) Regulations, 2012. The notice is stated to be pursuant to and in exercise of the IEBC Chairman’s powers conferred by Articles 88 (4), 193, 194 (1) (f) of the Constitution of Kenya, sections 2, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 35, 38, 39, 43 and 74 of the Elections Act, 2011 and Regulations 11 (6), 12(1) and 14, Parts III, VIII and IX of the Election (General) Regulations, 2012 the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
19.The Gazette Notice provides inter alia, as follows:
20.Section 13(1) & (2) of the Elections Act require a political party to nominate its candidates and provide the name of the candidate to the IEBC. The name cannot be revoked or changed after the nomination of that person by the Commission.
21.I understood the Returning Officer to state that he received the 3rd Respondent’s nomination papers on 1st June 2022, the first day notified for nominations under the Gazette Notice. She was a member of the UDA Party. He found her papers in order. He checked to ascertain her name had been duly submitted by UDA pParty as required and found it had been so submitted. He issued her with an IEBC nomination certificate for Karumaindo Ward.
22.The following day, 2nd June, 2022, he received a letter from a law firm stating that the 3rd Respondent’s election had been nullified by the PPDT. He said he was powerless to do anything, having already issued the Nomination Certificate.
23.On his part, the applicant stated that he wrote on 25th May 2022 to his Party, UDA, asking them to comply with the PPDT orders nullifying the party nomination (JMN4). On 31st May he wrote to IEBC a letter notifying IEBC that the 3rd respondent’s nomination “was annulled by the PPDT” judgment of 30th April, 2022. The letter “urge[d] the Commission not to clear and /or register” the 3rd respondent. The letter also included a decree of the PPDT. It was acknowledged by the Returning Officer and stamped received at 1.54 pm the same day.
24.The orders sought by the Applicant before the PPDT were, inter alia, as follows:- injunction to restrain the UDA and The UDA Party National Elections Board from submitting the name of Caroline Muriithi (3rd Respondent herein) to the IEBC as the candidate for UDA-declaration that Caroline Muriithi acted illegally and ultra vires the Party’s Nominations and Dispute s Resolution Committee
25.However, the PPDT Decree exhibited by the applicant contained the following orders:
26.These orders were not enforceable against the IEBC or the Returning Officer. Under section 39(1)(a) and (b) of the Political Parties Act (PPA), the jurisdiction of the PPDT is to determine the following types of disputes: disputes between members of a political party; and disputes between a member of a political party and the political party. Under section 41(3) PPA, the decision of the tribunal is enforceable as an order of a Magistrates court, obviously as against parties thereto, and the tribunal is granted the powers of the High Court to punish any acts amounting to contempt – also, obviously, as against the parties to the dispute.
27.Clearly, the applicant’s Party and the Party’s Elections Board are the ones that were at fault and in breach of the PPDT orders. As such the proper action was for enforcement action through the PPDT to be invoked as against those bodies.
28.I have noted that the disputes concerning the party nominations commenced as far back as 14th April 2022, with the party nominations, followed by party internal dispute resolution mechanism, followed by the PPDT at Nyeri which issued orders on 20th May, 2022. In the meantime, the time was ticking inexorably towards the gazetted nomination day by the IEBC, and the applicant ought to have taken note of that fact by seeking early enforcement of orders in his favour by the PPDT as against his party structures.
29.It was not until 30th May, 2022, that the applicant obtained a decree, enforceable as against his party, UDA and its structures.
30.As far as the Returning Officer is concerned, therefore, I am unable to fault his actions, which he conducted entirely within the law and the gazetted guidelines.
The Propriety of the IEBC Dispute Resolution Committee’s Dismissal of the Applicant’s complaint
31.As earlier stated, the applicant filed a complaint with the IEBC DRC against the actions of the Returning Officer, the 3rd Respondent, and the UDA Party. I have not seen the pleadings, but from the summary in the Ruling of the DRC, the Applicant/complainant was urging the DRC to:
32.The question is what is the mandate and jurisdiction of the IEBC DRC? This is the same question that the DRC posed when dealing with the complaint before it. The DRC quoted section 74 of the Elections Act (EA), and highlighted that its role under that section is “to settle electoral disputes including disputes relating to or arising from nominations”
33.The DRC then went into the definition of “nomination” as defined in Section 2 of the Elections Act, and determined that a dispute between a party and its member is not a dispute contemplated in the Elections Act in terms of the section 2 (EA) definition of the term.
35.Clearly, this section relates to the process whereby after parties have completed their nominations processes including resolving any disputes in respect thereof, they then have then to submit their candidates to the Commission through the IEBC Returning Officer on and pursuant to the gazetted nomination date.
36.The process is envisaged in section 13(2) EA whereby parties having nominated their candidates, are not entitled to change the name of the nominee after the nomination has been received by the Commission.
37.In practical terms, the guidance is given by the Gazette notice which provides:
38.Seven days after parties provide the name of their nominee, the Commission gazettes the names. It is those persons who are then expected to attend the nomination day set by the IEBC to receive nominees and clear them formally. The IEBC’s responsibility at this stage is to ensure that the nominees have the required legal and ethical qualifications and any other qualifications required by law. This is the nomination exercise conducted by the Commission when nominees of parties and independent candidates attend on nomination day.
39.It is this submission of the candidates to the Commission that is the subject of the IEBC DRC’s dispute resolution mandate. I think that the DRC would be acting ultra vires if it sought to disentangle or determine the dispute between UDA Party and its nominee party members as regards whose name should have been forwarded to the IEBC.
40.Indeed, the applicant’s argument is that that the PPDT had annulled the 3rd Respondent’s nomination at the time the IEBC cleared her, yet that the 3rd Respondent was not eligible for clearance. In my view, it was incumbent on the applicant to ensure its orders obtained from the PPDT had been enforced to enable the Commission to receive from the UDA its rightful nominee.
41.This was particularly relevant as I have noted that the PPDT Ruling of 30th May 2022 at Paragraph 26-27 castigated the UDA party and UDA National Elections Board for “the conduct unbecoming” of availing it [PPDT] information or evidence on which to rely as legitimate evidence, and there were unexplained inconsistences.
42.The upshot is that I agree with the decision of the IEBC DRC that they had no mandate to intervene in correcting and or rectifying the processes commenced by and muddied under, the UDA Party process.
43.Accordingly, for all the foregoing reasons, the application is dismissed with costs.