Mwatela in court to protest governorship poll results

Wednesday April 10 2013

By EUNICE MACHUHI [email protected]

Jacinta Mwatela has now moved to court to challenge the election results for the governorship in Taita Taveta County.

The former Central Bank of Kenya deputy governor filed a petition at the High Court in Mombasa asking for the exercise to be declared null and void.

She claims voting was marred with irregularities.

She also seeks for an order of scrutiny and a recount of all the ballots cast during the election won by Mr John Mruttu.

The petitioner, through lawyer Steve Kithi, cited malpractices that allegedly occurred during the exercise, most of which she attributes to Taveta constituency returning officer Saha Mazungu.

Mrs Mwatela, who garnered 32,890 votes, has sued Mr Mazungu, the secretary to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the IEBC itself and Mr Mruttu.

In her petition, she has listed herself, Mr Elijah Mwandoe, Mr Mwanyengela Ngali, Ms Spphie Kibai and Mr Wisdom Mwamburi as interested parties.

Among the complaints she has raised are that Mr Mazungu refused to issue duly completed copies of form 35 to all candidates’ agents as required by law.

She also claims that during counting of ballots at Njukini polling centre, the returning officer refused to verify with party agents each ballot cast.

This, she says, would have ascertained which candidate each ballot had been cast for.

In addition, she claims that during the receipt of the ballot boxes and tallying, there was general disorder at Timbila High school within Taveta constituency tallying centre which hampered transparent tallying.

Further, that the returning officer refused to tally, display on the wall, announce and transmit electronically the respective results for the Senator, Governor and woman representative as requireded by law.

The petitioner also claims that upon conclusion and tallying the ballots, the returning officer refused to hold a consensus meeting with all the party agents present before proceeding to the county tallying centre at Mwatate.

“The returning officer having consistently blocked any party from accompanying ballot boxes being transported from their respective polling centres, he proceeded to travel with election results and materials on the morning of March 6, 3013, from Taveta to Mwatate in a private vehicle belonging to Mr Joseph Mukalu, a close confidant and associate of Mr Mruttu,” she said.

The petitioner now wants the court to declare the election null and void and that she be declared as the duly elected governor. She also wants Mr mruttu to pay costs of the petition.