Friday, April 16, 2010

Kenya MP loses seat

Mr George Thuo acknowledges greetings from his supporters at the Milimani Commercial Court, Nairobi April 16, 2010. He had appeared in court for judgement in a petition challenging his election as Juja MP, which he lost. Photo/ PETERSON GITHAIGA.

Mr George Thuo acknowledges greetings from his supporters at the Milimani Commercial Court, Nairobi April 16, 2010. He had appeared in court for judgement in a petition challenging his election as Juja MP, which he lost. Photo/ PETERSON GITHAIGA. 

By SAM KIPLAGAT

The government chief whip and Juja MP George Thuo has lost his Parliamentary seat after a court nullified his election over poll irregularities.

Delivering judgement, Judge Luka Kimaru said that the "credibility of the results were cast in doubt due to the glaring mistakes committed by the defunct Electoral Commission of Kenya."

According to the Judge, 37 Form 16A were not signed by respective party agents and that they did not bear the ECK stamp.

He added that the forms did not contain the statutory comments by the presiding officers detailing the reasons why they were not signed.

"All these factors poked holes in the credibility of the results," said Judge Kimaru.

He said that results from four polling stations were not entered into final tally on Form 17 A.

Although the results were in favour of Mr Thuo, the Judge ruled that it was an anomaly.

The four stations in questions are: Githurai Kimbo, Ngoliba, Kilimambogo and Githurai Ranch.

The presiding officer in the constituency had attributed the omission to human error, but Justice Kimaru said "that is not an excuse."

The petition was filed by former legislator William Kabogo, who told the court in his submissions that the elections were not free and fair and that what had happened was an “act of electoral burglary."

During the hearing, Mr Thuo had asked the court to dismiss the petition saying it was full of hearsay.

He said the petition did not have evidence to prove fraud and collusion between him and election officials in the December 2007 polls as alleged by Mr Kabogo.

His sentiments were shared by the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC), which said some of Mr Kabogo’s allegations seemed to be an afterthought.

While asking the Judge to dismiss the case, the electoral body said that some mistakes admitted by the returning officer during the hearing of the case were human and were anticipated by law.

Mr Thuo becomes the fourth Parliamentarian to lose his seat in an election petition since the last General Election in 2007.

The same fate befell Joel Onyancha (Bomachoge PNU), Omingo Magara (South Mugirango, ODM) and Chirau Mwakwere (Matuga, PNU).

Also, there are six more poll petitions pending in court.

In Starehe constituency, former MP Maina Kamanda is challenging the election of Bishop Margaret Wanjiru (ODM). Makadara MP Dickson Wathika (PNU) is defending his election after former legislator Rueben Ndolo moved to court to have the poll nullified.

Mr John Waluke is contesting the election of Foreign minister Moses Wetangula as Sirisia MP (PNU) and Wajir South MP Abdirahman Ali (Kanu) is also facing a petition.

In Kirinyaga Central MP Ngata Kariuki (Ford Asili) is fighting to retain his seat after former MP Daniel Karaba went to court while Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale (New Ford Kenya) also has a date with destiny.

Additional reporting by Anthony Kariuki.

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