IEBC official admits to errors as election petitions continue

Friday November 10 2017

Changamwe MP Omar Mwinyi (right) with his

Changamwe MP Omar Mwinyi (right) with his Advocate Mohamed Ali of Balala at the Mombasa law courts on November 9, 2017. His election has been challenged by Mahmoud Mohamed Ali. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

A returning officer on Friday admitted at the High Court in Mombasa that polling clerks posed as Jubilee and ODM agents and signed a result form at a polling station in Changamwe constituency.

Aisha Abubakar said two clerks signed Form 35A which was used to record results of the National Assembly election as Jubilee Party agents, while one signed as an ODM agent at Chaani Primary Primary School.

She said the matter was recorded in the polling day diary.

MISTAKE

Asked by lawyer Gikandi Ngibuini, who is representing Mahmoud Mohamed Ali in a petition against the election of Omar Mwinyi as Changamwe MP, why the results of the polling station formed part of the final tallying, she said that was a mistake.

“It should not have been tallied,” said Mrs Abubakar in reply to Mr Gikandi’s question on the validity of such results.

The returning officer was testifying before Lady Justice Njoki Mwangi.

She also admitted that there were two cases of voters being issued with more than one ballot papers at Mikandini Primary School polling station and Bokole Primary School polling station.

The returning officer said prompt action was taken against the clerks and the voters but admitted that she could not rule out the possibility that other earlier cases had not been stopped.

She further testified that one case was not immediately brought to her attention until the final tallying a the constituency tallying centre.

BLOW

Meanwhile, in Nyeri, Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua has suffered a blow after court rejected his application to dismiss a petition challenging his election.

Justice Jairus Ngaah of Nyeri High Court dismissed the MP’s claims that he would be prejudiced since the petitioner, Michael Gichuru, had introduced new evidence in the case.

The court objected to reports that Mr Gichuru had gone beyond an opportunity granted to him to rectify mistakes in the petition like typographical errors.

The court noted that though there were inconsistencies in the main petition and the amended one, the MP would not suffer any form of prejudice.

And in Nyamira, Walter Nyambati who is seeking to have the election of John Nyagarama nullified claimed that more votes were cast than the number of voters registered in 47 polling stations in the county.

The Jubilee Party candidate said that as a result, 13,488 unregistered voters were allowed to participate in the election.

He also named a number of polling stations that had less total votes than the actual cast.

COOKED

He said he was also given extra 63 votes at Tombe Primary School whose origin he said he did not know.

Mr Nyambati also wondered why each of the nine candidates got the same number of votes in more than eight polling stations like at Kebabe and Nyamwanchania.

“It looks like all figures in those centres were cooked,” Mr Nyambati said.

All the polling stations in question are in North Mugirango constituency.

“Overall, I got 58,936 votes against Hon Nyagarama’s 65, 161. This election was not free and fair,” Mr Nyambati told High court Judge Aaron Makau who is presiding over the matter.

Mr Nyambati is represented by Ken Nyaencha.

In Nyali, MP Mohamed Ali got a reprieve after a court allowed his application seeking more time to file a response to a petition challenging his election.

The judge also allowed a similar application by the electoral agency and its returning officer Mwanajuma Gandani.

The petitioner, Dan Abwao, wants the court to rule that Mr Ali was not validly elected. The hearing starts on January 8.

Reported by Galgalo Bocha, Henry Nyarora and Joseph Wangui