The mystery surrounding Kethi purported registration and the IEBC acknowledgement slip in her possession has left many unanswered questions.
She will almost certainly not be contesting in the Makueni County SEnatorial byelection set for July 22.
This follows decision by the IEBC Commission tribunal to revoke her nomination certificate after upholding evidence adduced before it which indicated she was not a registered voter anywhere in the country.
The verdict by the IEBC Dispute Resolution Committee chaired by Thomas Letangule was greeted with booing and heckling by hundreds of Kethi supporters who had thronged the court.
A political debut looked to be in doubt for Kethi when she failed to explain where she had registered, how she registered with expired documents and why she used photocopies instead of original documents.
The registration slip in her possession was also said to have been stolen from a booklet that had been used to register retired President Kibaki only during the launch of the registration exercise and was a subject of police investigation.
The IEBC director in-charge of voter registration Ms Immaculate Kassait told the committee the lawyer was not a registered voter in the country. “The acknowledgement slip in Kethi’s possession is a subject of police investigation as it had been stolen from a booklet that was used to register former President Kibaki only. It is reported to have been stolen alongside four others.”
The other gaping anomaly in the slip according to IEBC lawyer Kimani Muhoro was that it had been issued in 2011 while Kethi had told the tribunal that she had registered last year.
On the issue of registering with an expired passport and the photocopy of an ID, Kethi had difficulty in explaining to the committee how she had managed to register as a voter with an expired passport and a photocopy of an ID card.
According to the Election Act one is required to register using a valid passport or an original ID card but for Kethi’s case she told the committee she had registered using a photocopy and an expired passport.
She explained that she presented the two documents to the registration clerk who went ahead to register her in total disregard of the stipulated requirement as outlined in the Act.
There was further dismay in court when Kethi could not explain the exact place where she registered as a voter. Her assertion that she was registered at Karen was disputed, as no such polling station existed in the IEBC list of polling stations.
Yesterday, the tribunal directed the commission institutes investigations into the claims the acknowledgement slip that was in Kethi’s possession had been stolen from IEBC custody.
Immediately word got out to more supporters who had been camping outside the court from morning eagerly waiting for the verdict chants of dissatisfaction ‘Haki Yetu, Haki Yetu’ rent the air.
Court orderlies were forced to close all the entrances to the court and barred people from entering the court precincts while individuals and lawyers who had arrived at the court to attend other matters were caught in the ensuing melee.
The court was tense when the three members of the tribunal entered courtroom following a 30-minute delay. The session was meant to begin at 2pm but started at 2.30pm.
The court was hushed when the chair Letangule started the session by taking Coram of the counsel present and started reading the verdict in another suit where Prof Philip Kaloki who is also contesting for the seat had been accused of being a member of more than one political party.
When the commissioners started reading Kethi’s ruling the mood of her supporters, who had thronged the courtroom, and its precincts turned from optimistic, to tense then disappointment as the verdict was read out.
There was a sign of hope among Kethi’s supporters when Letangule took the court through her submissions explaining how she had argued strongly against the case. The optimism, however, turned into despair when the committee began puncturing holes in her evidence.
Letangule said in the Kassait submissions she had told the committee Kethi was not a registered voter anywhere in the country.
Letangule explained that the Nairobi returning officer and his Makueni counterpart had also testified over the acknowledgement slip that had been presented by Kethi as an original IEBC document.
He said it was incumbent upon Kethi to verify her registration as a voter and her failure to do so should not be blamed on IEBC.
“A voter is a person whose name is in the voter register as envisaged in the Election Act and as such Kethi cannot be regarded as a registered voter as her name was not in the biometric voter register, ‘green book’ and the principal registers,” he ruled.
Letangule explained that the Supreme Court had ruled during the presidential petition that the ‘green book’ was part of the voter register, which necessitated the opening of the ballot box to retrieve the ‘green book’ to verify if she was registered.
The committee dismissed as claims by Kethi’s lawyers that the National Intelligence Service had tampered with the registers to bar her from contesting. The three-member committee ruled that those were speculations because she had not filed an affidavit over the matter.
The tribunal ruled that the acknowledgment slip was not proof of registration and also cited many anomalies ranging from the date of registration to the place of registration that were irregular as testified by IEBC officials.
The tribunal ruled that Kethi could not have been registered when she did not have an original identification card and a valid passport.
When the suit started Kethi and the Wiper party had, through a preliminary objection, attempted to block the hearing of the claim that she was not a registered voter lodged to the IEBC committee.
In the application before the committee, Kethi and the Wiper had sought to have the three complaints lodged against Kethi thrown out on the grounds the committee had no jurisdiction to handle the matter.