Court orders vote recount for Changamwe constituency

Friday January 12 2018

Changamwe Constituency Returning Officer Aisha

Changamwe Constituency Returning Officer Aisha Abubakar testifies during hearing of an election petition on December 11, 2017. The High Court has ordered recount and scrutiny of voting materials used in the August 8 General Election. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

By GALGALO BOCHA
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The High Court has ordered recount and scrutiny of voting materials in 80 out of 137 polling stations in Changamwe constituency, Mombasa.

Justice Njoki Mwangi ordered that the exercise be done between January 16 and January 20 by the court’s deputy registrar and a report filed in court by January 24.

The Judge ruled that the petitioner, Mr Mohamed Mahmoud and his witnesses raised claims of massive irregularities and illegalities that warrant the court to order scrutiny.

She further indicated that in considering the application for scrutiny, an election court has to be satisfied with the evidence of the petitioner to establish whether there were irregularities in the election process and mistakes on the part of election officials.

PORTAL

The Judge said the applicant provided evidence showing glaring variances of votes declared in favour of the president, governor, senator, woman representative and MCA in the constituency compared to what had been posted on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) portal.

She observed that doubt on such variances can only be put to rest through vote scrutiny and recount in the 80 polling stations in view of claims that some IEBC clerks issued more than one ballot paper to voters.

“It is only reasonable and fair to assuage the apprehension on the part of the applicant if the election for MP in Changamwe constituency was properly and legally conducted,” ruled Justice Njoki.

The Judge also allowed the application to establish whether correct numbers of votes cast were captured in some of the polling stations where the petitioners alleged that forms 34A were altered.

SCRUTINY

The court also indicated that some Jubilee Party agents who testified that they were chased away in some of the polling stations established sufficient grounds for the court to grant the orders of scrutiny and recount since some forms adduced by IEBC in court lacked their signatures as required.

The court also allowed the scrutiny and recount in 21 polling stations where variances were noted in serial numbers captured in polling day diaries, ballot papers, and ballot papers slip apertures as stated in a report of the court’s deputy registrar during the securing of election materials by the court.

Presiding officers and deputy presiding officers failure to indicate their details on form 35As in nine polling stations in Changamwe constituency also warranted the order with the Judge saying that they ought to safeguard accountability and transparency in the election process.

Mr Mahmoud is challenging the election of Mr Omar Mwinyi of ODM party as Changamwe MP.