Court orders vote recount in petition against Awiti - Daily Nation

Court orders vote recount in petition against Cyprian Awiti

Thursday December 21 2017

Oyugi Magwanga election petition against Cyprian Awiti.

Former Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga (centre) with his lawyer and running mate. A Homa Bay Court has ordered a vote recount in an election petition Mr Magwanga filed against Governor Cyprian Awiti. PHOTO | BARACK ODUOR | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By BARACK ODUOR
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The Homa Bay Election Court has ordered the scrutiny and recount of votes in 400 polling centres across the county, in a case in which former Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga is challenging Governor Cyprian Awiti’s re-election.

Mr Magwanga said he believed the election was not free and fair.

RECOUNT

Justice Joseph Karanja gave directions that the recount be supervised by the deputy registrar of the court in the presence of three agents of each party.

"There shall be three agents for both the petitioner and the respondents during the recount exercise. The deputy registrar of the court will be present to make sure that there is transparency," said the judge.

The recount is to be done between January 8-19 next year and a report presented to court before the 24th day of the same month.

POLLING CENTRES

The court also granted Mr Magwanga access to the original forms used during the August 8 General Election.

Already, a number of ballot boxes have been preserved and sealed as earlier directed by the court. The polling centres are distributed in all the constituencies in the county except Ndhiwa Constituency.

Some of the polling centres affected by the directive include Kigoto and Uterere in Suba South, Asego Nursery and Lake Primary School in Homa Bay Town, Kobuya and Kowuor primary schools in Karachuonyo and Nyopuge and Wikoteng' in Rangwe.

"The scrutiny is meant to validate or invalidate the results as presented by IEBC to court," Justice Karanja said.

BALLOT BOXES

Mr Magwanga asked the court to grant him access to ballot boxes used in the election to put his own security seals.

"The integrity of the ballot boxes and election materials shall be ascertained by the deputy registrar of the court who shall supervise the exercise," said the judge.

Through his lawyers Charles Kanjama and Humphrey Obach, the former MP argued that preserving the election materials would protect them from being tampered with when the case is still active.

DISPUTE

Several witnesses, including IEBC constituency returning officers, have testified before the court on how the election was conducted.

Mr Magwanga wants Mr Awiti's victory to be nullified.

Mr Magwanga's lawyers had told the court that the former MP won the election with 223,311 votes against Mr Awiti's 179, 551 votes.

But the IEBC declared Mr Awiti winner with 210,173 votes against Mr Magwanga’s 189,060.