Friday, September 27, 2013

First term Coast MP sent home in election petition

Lungalunga election petitioner Mr.Gideon Mwangangi (in blue trouser) celebrates with his supporters outside the Mombasa Law Courts following nullification of the area MP Mr Khatib Mwashetani's election on 26 September 2013. Justice Vincent Odunga said there was blatant breach of the law during the election. PHOTO/LABAN WALLONGA.

Lungalunga election petitioner Mr.Gideon Mwangangi (in blue trouser) celebrates with his supporters outside the Mombasa Law Courts following nullification of the area MP Mr Khatib Mwashetani's election on 26 September 2013. Justice Vincent Odunga said there was blatant breach of the law during the election. PHOTO/LABAN WALLONGA.   NATION

By NATION CORRESPONDENT
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The election of Lunga Lunga member of Parliament has been nullified and fresh polls ordered.

Mr Khatib Mwashetani becomes the first legislator in the Coast region to be sent home.

Justice Vincent Odunga Thursday said there was blatant breach of the law during the election.

The petitioners were Mr Gideon Mwangangi and Mr Hassan Charo.

They had alleged bribery, where Mr Mwashetani, a first term parliamentarian, bought school desks and sank water wells using a foundation he had set up.

But in his ruling Thursday, Judge Odunga noted that the beneficiaries of Mr Mwashetani’s generosity could not be assumed to be voters.

Consequently, he dismissed the bribery claims.

However, he noted that cheques issued in his name and not through his foundation, may have influenced voters.

The judge said the returning officer ordered a recount and amended Form 36 which was outside his mandate.

“The returning officer does not have authority to order a recount, only a court can. He also amended Form 36,” Judge Odunga said.

In addition there was evidence of incorrect figures being transmitted at the tallying centre, the court found.

The judge declined to award costs to the petitioners.