Court orders LSK to preserve ballot papers over malpractice claims

A lawyer who lost a bid for vice-president's seat tells a judge there were massive irregularities.

Friday March 4 2016

A lawyer casts her vote during the Law Society of Kenya polls at the Milimani High Courts on February 25, 2016.

A lawyer casts her vote during the Law Society of Kenya polls at the Milimani High Courts on February 25, 2016. A lawyer who lost a bid for the vice-president's seat has challenged the results, claiming irregularities. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MAUREEN KAKAH
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An advocate on Friday secured a court order to preserve for scrutiny election materials used in the February 25 Law Society of Kenya (LSK) polls, saying the vote was compromised.

Ms Jennifer Shamalla sued the lawyers' body in a case in which the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is listed as an interested party.

Both the LSK and the IEBC were ordered to preserve the ballot papers as it was alleged there was double voting at 25 polling stations countrywide.

Ms Shamalla, who was seeking the vice-president's seat and lost to Ms Faith Waigwa, told High Court Judge Joseph Onguto that there were massive irregularities but the LSK does not have the regulatory mechanism to comprehensively deal with the alleged malpractices.

She argued that even though the electoral body was involved, it was not an appropriate link and that her attempts to raise the complaint to the returning officer had not been answered.

“This matter is extremely urgent as the entire records of the just concluded LSK elections need to be preserved and a scrutiny as well as a recount be ordered to allow this matter be determined before the Annual General meeting in which the elections officials are to be sworn in is held,” Ms Shamalla said.

Justice Onguto agreed that the matter was urgent, saying he was satisfied with the facts laid down before him.

“Pending the hearing and determination of this case, I do issue an order directing LSK and IEBC to preserve the integrity of all records inclusive of the voter registers, all unused and used ballot paper booklets as well as provide their serialization numbers,” he said.

SHAMALLA'S REQUESTS

The judge pointed out that since the LSK council is set to meet next Tuesday and there are no regulations in place, there would be no prejudice to any party if the election materials are preserved temporarily.

Ms Shamalla wants both the LSK and the IEBC ordered to recount and scrutinise the votes cast in the polls.

She also wants a tally of all voter registers countrywide within four days to establish any instances of double voting and the results obtained be presented in court.

She further wants a separate report of any advocates found to have voted more than once to be presented in the court as well as circulated to all LSK members via email.

She also wants Safaricom, Airtel and Orange to be compelled to provide returning officer Arnold Wekesa's and deputy Benjamin Kimwei's phone records for the last three months prior to the polls.

Ms Shamalla argued that the integrity of the recent LSK elections is at stake and that the vote has serious implications for the political rights of members to participate in free and fair polls.

The case will be heard on March 11.

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