The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission said Tuesday Mr Mariga’s name does not appear in the voter register and he cannot, therefore, contest in the November elections.
Efforts by former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale and Lang’ata MP Nixon Korir to convince the IEBC team that Mr Mariga was registered after the 2017 polls were futile.
The embarrassing moments Jubilee candidate and former Harambee Stars player McDonald Mariga suffered when the electoral body denied him the nod to vie for the Kibra parliamentary seat is symptomatic of the divisions in the party, which is in a fight with itself.
While the two factions — Tangatanga, allied to Deputy President William Ruto, and Kieleweke, leaning to President Uhuru Kenyatta — have gone hammer and tongs at each other, the registration fiasco is a new low.
2017 VOTERS ROLL
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) said Tuesday Mr Mariga’s name does not appear in the voter register and he cannot, therefore, contest in the November elections. Efforts by former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale and Lang’ata MP Nixon Korir to convince the IEBC team that Mr Mariga was registered after the 2017 polls were futile.
Seated next to Mr Mariga was Ms Anne Thumbi, the nominated ward rep who was recently in the news over her relationship with the late Kibra MP Ken Okoth. As the drama unfolded, she could only giggle gingerly as the cameras rolled.
Returning officer Jane Muli said: “We have invalidated Mariga’s nomination to vie in the Kibera by-election because his name is not on the voter’s register.”
A contingent of police officers in combat gear were all over the compound, ready for any eventuality.
Dr Khalwale, Mr Korir and other Ruto allies who had accompanied the retired footballer to the IEBC offices said the failure to approve Mr Mariga to vie was tantamount to denying him his constitutional right to vote and contest. They vowed to appeal the decision.
“I want to register our disappointment that IEBC has not cleared Mariga despite meeting every qualification,” Mr Korir said. “McDonald Mariga is registered with IEBC but the commission now claims that his details are not on the register.”
He said Article 83 (3) of the Constitution stipulates that a Kenyan cannot be denied the right to vote or be voted for because of IEBC’s administrative incompetencies.
“It was their business to ensure that Mariga’s name is on the register because he is a registered voter.”
Dr Khalwale said: “I would like to assure Mariga’s supporters that this is just a temporary setback. Our campaigns go on unabated. Mariga’s name will be on the ballot.”
Mr Mariga remained calm as IEBC scrutinised his documents before the Jubilee team left the Dagorreti office a dejected lot shortly after 6pm.
“I am saddened by this development, but we shall wait for the verdict of the tribunal,” he said.
He sought to calm his supporters waiting pensively for the verdict outside the gates.
Earlier, Mr Mariga had been awarded the Jubilee certificate to vie for the seat, whose campaigns are seen as a crucial test for the March 2018 “handshake” between President Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, the ruling party unity and a signal of what could happen in the 2022 General Election battle.
Secretary-General Raphael Tuju presented the certificate to Mr Mariga at Jubilee headquarters in Pangani.