Footballer-turned politician McDonald Mariga was, on Monday, September 16, cleared by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to vie for the Kibra Parliamentary seat.
Mariga’s candidature for the Kibra by-election had been marred with controversy after the Kibra returning officer declared that his name was missing in the voter’s register.
While delivering commission’s dispute resolution committee’s decision, IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati confirmed that Mariga was a duly registered voter having made the registration on August 26, 2019, at Kariokor upon which he was issued with an acknowledgment slip.
“We are of the view that the absence of the complainant’s (Mariga) name in the register that was used by the respondent could not have been taken as conclusive proof of lack of registration by the complainant,” read an excerpt of Chebukati’s statement.
The Parliamentary hopeful, through his lawyers, had met three officials from the IEBC at Anniversary Towers in Nairobi to iron out issues concerning his candidature.
Mariga filed a complaint with the IEBC’s Dispute Resolution Committee following the decision by the returning officer to invalidate his candidacy since he was not in the commission’s electronic voters’ register, a decision Mariga described as improper.
He wanted the disputes committee to overturn the decision as he insisted that he was a registered voter and that he was validly nominated.
The legendary footballer had rushed to beat the IEBC deadline to present his nomination certificate when the decision to invalidate his candidature was made.
The lawyers had argued that the former footballer had dashed to Kariakor on August 26 where he registered as a voter, approximately two weeks after the National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi declared the seat vacant.
Mariga’s troubles also deepened after a voter, one Leina Konchellah, petitioned the IEBC to investigate the former footballer’s age.
Konchellah, in the case that is yet to be determined, claimed that Mariga did not meet the threshold to be a candidate.
“It is rather curious that the complainant presented a national identity card indicating his date of birth is April 4, 1987,” Konchellah stated in a sworn affidavit to the IEBC.