MPs Lessonet, Omulele win Supreme Court election cases

Friday January 18 2019

Eldama Ravine MP Moses Lessonet

Eldama Ravine MP Moses Lessonet and his supporters celebrate outside the Kabarnet High Court after his election was upheld on March 2, 2018.PHOTO | CHEBOITE KIGEN | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

SAM KIPLAGAT
By SAM KIPLAGAT
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It was victory on Friday for Eldama Ravine MP Moses Lessonet and Luanda's Christopher Omulele in the petitions against their election that had progressed to the Supreme Court.

The cases against them were filed by former MP Musa Sirma and Arthur Apungu respectively.

NO BASIS

In the case of former minister Sirma, justice Isaac Lenaola said they found no reason to interfere with the decision of the Court of Appeal.

He noted that for the court to interfere with the discretion of the lower court, the former MP had to show how the judges abused their discretion.

In May 2018, the Court of Appeal dismissed his case stating that it was incompetent having been filed in the wrong registry.

It was the court’s finding that Mr Lessonet was validly elected.

After winning election cases in June 2018, Mr Lessonet sought Sh10 million in costs from Mr Sirma, who filed the case in September the previous year.

He sought Sh3.1million and Sh6.9 million for the High Court and Court of Appeal cases respectively.

SAME FATE

The same fate befell petitioner Arthur Apungu; justice Lenaola ruled that judges found no reason to interfere with the decision of the Court of Appeal, which dismissed the petition that challenged Mr Omulele's election.

While dismissing the appeal in July last year, judges of the Court of Appeal faulted Mr Apungu for filing his appeal in the wrong registry.

The petition had earlier been dismissed by Justice Janet Mulwa but instead of filing the notice of appeal before the registry in Kisumu, Mr Apungu filed it in Kakamega.

While noting the strict timelines for hearing election petitions, the court said the case was transmitted to Kisumu about a month later yet it should have been filed within seven days after the decision was made.

The appeal was struck out and not satisfied so Mr Apungu turned to the Supreme Court.

The top court said the Court of Appeal did not abuse its jurisdiction by striking out the notice of appeal. 

OTHER RULINGS

Earlier on Friday, the Supreme Court ordered fresh elections in Wajir West in the case that was filed against the election of Ahmed Kolosh as its member of parliament.

Babu Owino, real name Paul Ongili, reclaimed his Embakasi East MP seat as the Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeal decision that he was validly elected.

Lawmakers Kangogo Bowen (Marakwet East) and Annie Wanjiku Kibeh (Gatundu North) also won the cases against their elections in rulings delivered at the top court.

Regarding Mr Bowen, Justice Smokin Wanjala said the appeal did not not raise issues of interpretation.

On Ms Kibeh's case, the court said the irregularities cited did not justify annulment.

The Supreme Court also validated the election of Lamu Senator Anwar Loitiptip, saying electoral rules and the Constitution were followed.