Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Lunga Lunga by-election cancelled as Mwashetani wins appeal

Khatib Mwashetani (centre), accompanied by Jomvu MP Badi Twalib (right) leaves the Mombasa Law Court September 26, 2013. The Court of Appeal has ruled that Lunga Lunga MP Khatib Mwashetani was validly elected, overturning an earlier High Court nullification of the poll.   LABAN WALLOGA/FILE

Khatib Mwashetani (centre), accompanied by Jomvu MP Badi Twalib (right) leaves the Mombasa Law Court September 26, 2013. The Court of Appeal has ruled that Lunga Lunga MP Khatib Mwashetani was validly elected, overturning an earlier High Court nullification of the poll. LABAN WALLOGA/FILE 

By NATION TEAM
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The Lunga Lunga MP Mr. Khatib Mwashetani Wednesday got back his parliamentary seat after the court of appeal sitting in Malindi declared his election as free and fair.

This means that the by election set for December 2, remain cancelled.

The court immediately declared Mr Mwashetani as the duly elected MP for Lunga Lunga and ordered that the elections certificate earlier withdrawn from him be returned.

The winner had listened carefully to the findings of the court only surrounded by a few supporters who had travelled all the way from South Coast Malindi to know the final judgement.

As it became apparent that he was winning, the MP bowed down and held his head, overcome with emotion.

Finally, Mwashetani broke down in tears of joy as soon as the Court of Appeal Judge Hannah Okwengu allowed the appeal and set aside the judgment by a Mombasa High Court judge on September 26, 2013.

The case was heard by three appellate judges Hannah Okwengu, Milton Makhandia and Fatuma Sichale. Justice Okwengu’s counterparts were not in court as the orders were being read.

Declared Justice Okwengu, “The appeal by Mr Khatib Mwasheteni is allowed and the order by the trial judge set aside. This court declares the appellant as the duly elected MP for Lunga Lunga.”

The whole judgment and the arguments by the court will be released to on December 17, said Justice Okwengu.

COSTS OF THE CASE

She ordered that the costs of the case be met by the first and second respondents in a manner to be determined by the Registrar of the High Court.

Mr Mwashetani lost his seat on September 26, 2013 after the High Court in Mombasa nullified his election over what he declared to be poll irregularities.

The trial judge Vincent Odunga had ruled that there were irregularities that impeached the credibility of the poll.

But the Court of Appeal declared that after studying the various submissions from the respondents - it had emerged that no anomalies had been noted or identified during the election.

The Court of Appeal found the trial judge to have been wrong in his findings and declared that no offence had been committed during the polls.

Last week, the court also reinstated Lamu County Governor Issa Timamy after declaring that he was validly elected.


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