Simba Arati’s Bid to Replace Ousted Deputy Robert Monda Hits Legal Hurdles as Electoral Agency Declines to Clear Nominee

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Simba Arati’s Bid to Replace Ousted Deputy Robert Monda Hits Legal Hurdles as Electoral Agency Declines to Clear Nominee

Kisii Governor Simba Arati’s quest to replace fired deputy Robert Monda has run into legal difficulties when the electoral body turned down certification of his candidate.

This comes after it was revealed that without a fully established Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC), Dr Monda’s successor cannot be nominated, approved, or appointed.

The absence of the IEBC chairman puts the brakes on the process since the nominee, Elijah Obebo, must go through the commission approval procedure, just as in an election.

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According to Section 32(d) of the County Governments Act, a person proposed for appointment as deputy governor is also eligible for election as governor.

In response to the ODM party, IEBC Chief Executive Officer Marjan Hussein Marjan said that the agency’s hands are restricted and so cannot clear Elijah Obebo for vetting.

According to Marjan, when a vacancy is declared, the Governor’s office or party secretariat must write to the commission, conveying the nominee’s name and contact information.

Upon receipt of the name, the agency must designate the County Returning Officer via a gazette notice to clear the proposed candidate in accordance with the constitutional and statutory qualifying papers for the job.

The candidate is then required to appear before the county returning officer for clearance on a set day, when he must present all necessary documentation.

If the county returning officer is satisfied that the candidate fits the qualifications, he or she provides a nomination certificate, and the IEBC tells the Governor that the person is qualified.

“The governor then shall forward the Nomination Certificate to the County Assembly to kick start the process of approval of the nominee in accordance with section 32 (d) of the County Governments Act,” Marjan says.

The head of the electoral office claims that even after successful nomination, vetting, and approval, only the IEBC Chairperson has the legal authority to gazette the new deputy governor, paving the path for swearing in.

The head of the electoral office claims that even after successful nomination, vetting, and approval, only the IEBC Chairperson has the legal authority to gazette the new deputy governor, paving the path for swearing in.

The letter dated April 2 adds; “Its noteworthy that in terms of the constitutional prescription and IEBC Act, it is the Commission Chairperson who executes gazette notices on behalf of the Commission. However, noting the absence of the chairperson, we wish to inform you that the Commission is not in a position to appoint the returning officer and subsequently gazette the Deputy Governor approved by the Assembly.”

With the IEBC’s reconstruction halted, Marjan encouraged ODM to consider going to court and seeking judicial intervention, as well as obtaining a court order that would provide them with a legal basis to carry out the procedure without the chairwoman and commissioners.

On March 27, ODM National Elections Board chairman Catherine Muma wrote to the IEBC, sending Obebo’s name.

However, with the IEBC confirming that the DG nominee must satisfy the qualifications of a candidate for Governor, it is unclear if Obebo may face another legal dilemma, considering his present position as Chairperson of the Kisii County Public Service Board. The statute prohibits public employees who have not resigned from seeking elected office. Arati’s effort to propose Obebo came after senators impeached former deputy governor Robert Monda last month on corruption charges.

Monda became the first deputy governor to be impeached since the counties were founded in 2013.

Monda was accused of accepting a Sh800,000 bribe from Dennis Mokaya on the promise that he would gain him a commercial manager post at the Gusii Water and Sanitation Company.

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Simba Arati’s Bid to Replace Ousted Deputy Robert Monda Hits Legal Hurdles as Electoral Agency Declines to Clear Nominee

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