Judge dismisses bid seeking Wambui’s education papers

The High Court on Tuesday dismissed two applications by an Othaya parliamentary poll loser to order MP Mary Wambui to present her education certificates and order a recount of the votes.

Mr Justice Jarius Ngaa ruled that the two applications brought up issues that would substantially determine the main petition, adding that they were unsustainable.

“The issue on whether Ms Wambui was qualified is set to be determined in the main petition and ruling on the issue will be pre-empting the petition,” he ruled.

Through lawyer Cecil Miller, the MP said the requirement for a parliamentary candidate and ward representatives to possess a post-secondary education to contest was done away with by the Elections Act, 2012.

Mr Miller argued that petitioner Peter King’ara ought to have proved she did not possess education certificates rather than ask the court to order her to produce them.

Justice Ngaa noted the petitioner did not prove that it was mandatory for a parliamentary candidate to produce the certificate to contest.

“The application for Ms Wambui to produce her education certificates should have been made during the pre-trial conferences since the petitioner had issues with her education qualification,” said the judge.

The High Court further noted arguments were made after all evidence had been heard with the next stage being highlighting of submissions before the court could make the final judgment.

Justice Ngaa said Ms Wambui had told the court that she had a post-secondary qualification in civil education and had claimed the certificates were in the custody of her lawyer.

“The court has to consider whether the documents have any relevance to the case at hand, and the petitioner bears the overall burden of proving his case,” ruled the judge.

The petitioner had argued that granting the prayer would shorten the hearing, adding that the question of the MP’s eligibility to contest in the election would be answered.

The judge also dismissed the application for scrutiny and recount of the Othaya votes saying it was not the only prayer in the petition.
He said the court could determine the petition by evaluating the evidence in record without calling for a scrutiny and recount of the votes.

The petitioner was allowed to appeal the ruling on August 13 before the Court of Appeal in Nyeri.

This article was published by the DAILY NATION on August 6, 2013