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17 governors face fresh battle, rivals allege poll malpractices

Thursday September 7 2017

Former Lamu Governor Issa Timamy accompanied by his running mate Erick Mugo (left) and supporters at the Malindi Law Courts to file a petition challenging  Governor Fahim Twaha’s win. PHOTO | CHARLES LWANGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Former Lamu Governor Issa Timamy accompanied by his running mate Erick Mugo (left) and supporters at the Malindi Law Courts to file a petition challenging Governor Fahim Twaha’s win. PHOTO | CHARLES LWANGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

NATION TEAM
By NATION TEAM
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At least 17 governors are facing a major battle to retain their seats after their opponents filed petitions challenging their victories in the August 8 elections.

The new development comes as the Judiciary announced that by Wednesday, 120 petitions had been filed in various courts across the country challenging results in governor, MP, Senate and ward rep races.

According to an overview of petitions filed so far, nine more cases challenging the election of county bosses were filed within the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases before the High Court to 16.

New petitions were Wednesday filed contesting the election of Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, his Samburu counterpart Moses Lenolkulal, Fahim Twaha (Lamu), Amason Kingi (Kilifi), Mohamed Abdi (Wajir), Cyprian Awiti (Homa Bay), Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia) and John Nyagarama (Nyamira). 

In Kisii County, there were two petitions filed separately, all contesting the election of Governor James Ongwae.

VICTORIES CONTESTED

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Other governors not sitting pretty after their victories were contested include Martin Wambora (Embu), Ali Korane (Garissa), Dhadho Godhana (Tana River), Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga), Ali Roba (Mandera), and Granton Samboja (Taita-Taveta). The number of petitions challenging the election of MPs also rose to 33 from 13 the previous day.

For Senate, two more petitions were filed contesting the election of Prof Sam Ongeri (Kisii) and his Mandera counterpart Mohamud Mohammed, bringing the total number to four. Other senators facing an election petition include Yusuf Haji (Garissa) and his Kirinyaga counterpart Charles Kibiru.

In Machakos, the petitioner – Wiper Party candidate Wavinya Ndeti — said she would be seeking the nullification of Dr Mutua’s win, alleging massive irregularities. Ms Ndeti has already lined up a team of 10 lawyers to argue her petition of about 10,000 pages.

SUPREME COURT

They include Siaya Senator James Orengo and Rarieda MP Otiende Amolo, who successfully argued the case challenging the outcome of the Presidential election at the Supreme Court.

Ms Ndeti insisted she won the gubernatorial contest.

In Gusiiland, Governors Nyagarama and Ongwae are facing the battle of their lives after voters and opponents filed petitions at the Nyamira and Kisii High Courts respectively.

On Wednesday, Mr Walter Nyambati of Jubilee Party challenged Mr Nyagarama’s win, arguing that he profited from breach of electoral law.

Through his lawyers Nyaencha Waichari and Company Advocates, Mr Nyambati says the elections were marred by irregularities that favoured his opponent.

BRIBERY CLAIMS

He accuses IEBC and returning officer David Kiprono Towett of recruiting eight county employees as election officials, who influenced results in favour of his opponent. Mr Ongwae, on the other hand, has to fight two cases after his challenger from Wiper Lumumba Nyaberi opposed his re-election on grounds of multiple election offences.

Mr Nyaberi accused Mr Ongwae of bribery, spreading propaganda, use of undue influence and campaigning a few hours before elections contrary to the electoral rules.

He further claimed that the governor breached the election laws that required all candidates to stop campaigns two days to the election.

The case followed another one filed on Tuesday at the High Court in Kisii by two voters also challenging Mr Ongwae’s victory.

Mr Nyaberi claims he has both electronic and hard-copy evidence that shows Governor Ongwae at a press conference in a Kisii hotel on August 7 where he, together with Wiper Party candidates, declared that Mr Nyaberi had dropped his bid in support of the incumbent.

ISSA TIMAMY

In Lamu, former Governor Issa Timamy has filed a petition at the High Court in Malindi challenging the declaration of Mr Twaha as governor.

Mr Timamy says his decision was prompted by massive malpractices witnessed during the election process.

“We hope to win the case since our rival did not win the election fairly,” he said, adding: “In fact, residents are wondering how I lost the election.”

In his application, Mr Timamy urged the court to scrutinise and recount votes.

In Turkana, Governor Josephat Nanok’s win is also a subject of a court case.  According to the petitioner — Jubilee Party candidate John Munyes — the polls were conducted in a “shambolic manner, characterised by violence, voter bribery, corruption, use of force and intimidation.”

NANOK

Through Ngatia and Associates law firm that was on Tuesday represented by lawyer Daniel Bosire and Joshua Ang’elei, the former Turkana North MP wants elections held afresh in the county.

“We have a very strong and water-tight case and I know, as Jubilee Party, we will win because we believe in the rule of law and in God,” he said.

“We want Nanok’s re-election nullified and a repeat election called in Turkana for the truth to prevail,” he said.

In Kirinyaga, Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua on Tuesday moved to the High Court in Kerugoya seeking to have the election of Ms Anne Waiguru nullified and fresh polls held.

 Ms Karua wants the petition certified as urgent and orders compelling the IEBC to provide available electronic information on the gubernatorial race.

She is also seeking to have Ms Waiguru declared unfit to hold the governor’s seat or any other elective post for allegedly committing electoral offences.

FILED PETITION

In Garissa, former Governor Nathif Jama has also filed a petition challenging the election of Governor Ali Korane. Mr Jama argues the August 8 gubernatorial polls were flawed and characterised by massive irregularities.  

“We are confident that the court will nullify the elections,” said Mr Jama in the company of his lawyer Omwanza Ombati.

In Tana River, a resident has also moved to court to seek the quashing of the election of Governor Godhana, claiming he does not have a valid university degree. In the application, Mr Mohamed Dado Hatu urged the court to nullify Mr Dhado’s win and order IEBC to conduct fresh elections.

He argues that Mr Godhana’s Bachelor of Arts from Kimmage Development Studies Centre in Tanzania, said to be an affiliate institute of a university in Ireland, is not an equivalent of a degree recognised in Kenya.

DEGREE

“The Commission for University Education has confirmed, through its letter dated April 25, 2015, that such qualification is not an equivalent from a university recognised in Kenya as contemplated under Section 22 of the Elections Act, 2011,” states part of the application.

In Wajir, former Governor Ahmed Abdullahi filed a joint petition with another gubernatorial candidate Ahmed Muhumed challenging the election of Governor Abdi.  In Homabay, former Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga has also challenged Governor Cyprian Awiti’s victory.

 By Stephen Muthini, Richard Munguti, Elgar Machuka, Henry Nyarora and Charles Lwanga, Bruhan Makong, Barrack Oduor and Sammy Lutta, Gerald Bwisa and Titus Ominde