Court to rule next week in case challenging Hassan Joho’s win

Wednesday February 14 2018

Hassan Joho

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho. The High Court will on February 22, 2018 deliver judgement in a case challenging his election. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By BRIAN OCHARO
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The fate of Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho will be known next week when a court will deliver judgment in a petition challenging his election for a second term.

The suit was filed by former Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar who challenged the governor’s victory citing irregularities during the August 2017 polls.

In the petition, the former senator claimed that the gubernatorial poll was marred with illegalities and irregularities that saw Mr Joho, who is the ODM deputy party leader, declared winner.

VERDICT

The petitioner, who decamped to Jubilee from Wiper party after losing the elections, asked the court to nullify the election and order a fresh one claiming Mr Joho's win did not reflect the will of the people of Mombasa.

High Court Judge Lydia Achode is expected to give the verdict on Thursday next week. 

In the August 8 General Election Mr Joho was declared winner of the Mombasa gubernatorial race after garnering 221, 363 votes. Mr Omar came a distant third after polling 43,790 votes.

Jubilee party’s Suleiman Shahbal was second with 69, 429 votes.

The former senator unsuccessfully applied to withdraw the petition.

Justice Achode declined to grant him permission to do so on grounds that the matter had been already exhausted before the court and that it was in its final stage.

'BIASED'

Last month, Mr Omar had applied to withdraw the petition claiming the court was biased.

In his withdrawal petition, Mr Omar said he had lost confidence in the neutrality of the presiding judge handling the matter, adding he was convinced he would not get justice.

“It will be hypocritical for the petitioners to proceed with this matter when they believe that the honourable court is already biased against them,” Mr Omar said.

The petitioner had also filed application seeking Justice Achode’s recusal from the petition accusing her of open bias and double standards in handling the case.

But the judge dismissed all the petitioner’s applications saying the court will only rely on evidence presented before it while determining the matter.

Lawyers representing governor Joho and the Independent Electoral boundaries Commission opposed withdrawal of the petition saying they had invested a lot of resources and time defending the case, and that it was prudent that it is heard and concluded logically.

They termed application for withdrawal an abuse of court process and a waste of time since the matter was almost heading to its conclusion.

The petitioner however in their final submissions urged the court to nullify re-election of governor Joho saying he was not validly elected since the exercise was marred with illegalities and irregularities. 

Judgment will be delivered on February 22.