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High Court dismisses petition against Wilbur Ottichilo

Monday December 18 2017

Wilbur Ottichilo.

Vihiga Governor Wilbur Ottichilo (in suit) at the High Court in Kakamega on December 18, 2017 during the ruling of a petition against his election. The court dismissed the petition and said he was duly elected. PHOTO | BENSON AMADALA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By BENSON AMADALA
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By BARACK ODUOR
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Vihiga Governor Wilbur Ottichilo can now focus on his agenda after the High Court threw out a petition challenging his election victory.

In Homa Bay, the court ordered a recount of ballots at 53 polling stations in Nyatike Constituency in the August 8 election.

Dr Ottichilo’s victory of 82,220 votes had been challenged by a voter, Mr Hamzah Musuri Kevogo, alleging irregularities.

UNRELIABLE WITNESS
But on Monday, Justice Ruth Sitati ruled that the petitioner failed to prove that the governor was not validly elected.

“The petitioner comes off as a person suffering from selective amnesia…and just an outright liar,” Justice Sitati said.

“The court has assessed the petitioner as an unreliable and untruthful witness.

“He perjured himself when he admitted to court that he lied when testifying.”

VALIDLY ELECTED
Describing the petition as “frivolous and vexatious”, judge Sitati said Mr Kevogo had not shown seriousness in providing cogent evidence in support of the petition after he had filed it.

Mr Kevogo was not in court during the ruling but Dr Ottichilo, a former Emuhaya MP, told reporters he was happy with it.

“I believe I won the election fair and square and the court has proven it,” Dr Ottichilo said shortly after the ruling, accompanied by Luanda MP Chris Omulele.

“Based on the evidence the petitioner gave, he didn’t even know what he was looking for,” the governor added.

“This was just an unscrupulous fellow who must have been paid to file this case. I am happy today.”

COST OF PETITION
The court ordered Mr Kevogo to bear the cost of the petition, capped at Sh3 million for the each of the two parties, after Mr Kevogo said he was prepared to pay if he lost the case.

In Homa Bay, lawyers in the petition filed by Mr Fredrick Odiso to challenge the victory of Mr Tom Odege agreed to narrow down their demands in order to facilitate a vote recount.

Justice Joseph Karanja, however, declined to grant Mr Odiso’s prayer through lawyer Steve Biko to nullify Mr Odege’s victory and order a scrutiny of the lection materials.

The recount will be done at the IEBC warehouse in Macalder, Nyatike, on 20-23 December.