The Embu High Court on Thursday nullified the election of Governor Martin Wambora, citing massive irregularities that compromised the integrity of the process.
Justice William Musyoka said the vote recount and scrutiny, which he ordered last month, had unearthed various irregularities that cast the outcome of the August 8 gubernatorial contest in doubt.
He said the recount unearthed missing forms 37A for 12 polling stations, while a majority others were illegible, and the ballot lacked counterfoil papers.
He noted that the recount revealed 111 extra votes, which could not be attributed to anyone, thereby creating uncertainty over the correct number of votes cast.
Judge Musyoka agreed with the petitioner, former Senator Lenny Kivuti of Maendeleo Chap Chap party, that the votes could have been illegally introduced with an intention to distort the results.
He said the recount showed that the difference between Mr Wambora’s and Mr Kivuti’s votes was between 700 and 800 votes.
He noted that unaccounted for ballots affected 566 votes, the missing counterfoils affected over 4,000 votes while the missing or illegible forms 37A carried more than 10,000 votes.
He said although the petitioner had not applied for nullification of the election, the court was duty-bound to call for it after the anomalies were detected during the recount and scrutiny.
Mr Wambora had insisted that it was wrong to nullify the election since Mr Kivuti had not made that prayer in the original plaint, but had only urged the court to declare him the duly elected governor after the recount.
“The court has the jurisdiction to nullify the election if it determines that the process was flawed.
"Looking at these figures, there would be no doubt that the irregularities could affect the final results of the election.
"The errors were caused by non-compliance with the law during collating occasioned by the agents of the first respondent — (IEBC),” the judge ruled.
The judge directed Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka to declare the seat vacant and call for a fresh election.
He however absolved Mr Wambora of any blame, saying the irregularities were made by poll officials, who were either tired during the tallying exercise or were careless.
The court ordered IEBC to pay Mr Kivuti Sh2 million. Mr Wambora and his deputy David Kariuki will pay him Sh1 million.
The judgment sparked wild celebrations among Mr Kivuti’s supporters, while Mr Wambora said he would appeal the court’s decision.
Mr Wambora, who was represented by lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi, applied for a copy of the judgment to enable him to file an appeal.
Mr Wambora became the first governor to be impeached when, in 2014, he faced twin impeachments following a fallout with county politicians.
The impeachments were however overturned by the court.