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Governors and MPs can’t rest easy as they await court verdict

Sunday June 17 2018

Kirinyaga Deputy Governor Peter Ndambiri

Kirinyaga Deputy Governor Peter Ndambiri in jubilation after Kerugoya High Court upheld the victory of Governor Anne Waiguru on June 14, 2018. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

SAM KIPLAGAT
By SAM KIPLAGAT
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It will be an uneasy month for governors and MPs facing election appeals as Appellate judges deliver their verdicts.

So far, the court has delivered more than 20 judgments with Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi and his Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua among the high profile casualties.

A total of 102 election petitions were filed at the Court of Appeal.

Some 31 petitions against governors were filed while cases challenging the election of MPs were the highest at 56.

For the position of Woman Representative, eight petitions were filed while a similar number of cases on the senatorial positions headed to the Court of Appeal.

Both Dr Mutua and Mr Abdi have moved to the Supreme Court, expressing dissatisfaction with the decision of the Court of Appeal.

IRREGULARITIES

Mr Abdi’s election was challenged by former Governor Ahmed Abdullahi who complained of irregularities and the fact that his successor did not have a degree as required by the law, to vie for the position of governor.

The election was nullified by Justice Alfred Mabeya and Appellate court upheld the decision.

Nullifying Dr Mutua’s win, the judges said the election results declared by the county returning officer for Machakos County failed the constitutional test of verifiability and the declaration made announcing Dr Mutua the winner, had no legal basis.

Justices William Ouko, Mohamed Warsame and Gatembu Kairu said they were satisfied that the complaints regarding the validity of Form 37C and the declaration of results and it was wrong for the returning officer to use the wrong form.

PRESIDING OFFICERS

Ms Wavinya Ndeti, who challenged Dr Mutua’s win, had also complained that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) engaged county officials during the elections.

She had complained that over 300 employees of Machakos county government were engaged as returning officers, presiding officers and polling clerks.

Three other governors including Embu’s Martin Wambora and Cyprian Awiti (Homa Bay) had lost their seats following successful petitions, prompting them to appeal.

Those who celebrated the dismissal of their cases are Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga), Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu) as well as MPs Babu Owino (Embakasi East) Jessica Mbalu (Kibwezi East) and Rachael Nyamai of Kitui South.

Mr Owino survived a by-election scare after the court overturned a decision of the High Court, which nullified his win. The Judges ruled that Mr Owino was validly elected.

Justices Mohamed Warsame, Daniel Musinga and Kathurima M’Inoti ruled that the irregularities and the non-compliance with the electoral law raised by Mr Francis Wambugu Mureithi, did not affect Mr Owino’s win.

VIOLENCE

Mr Owino, also known as Paul Ongili, had won the August 8 election having garnered 46,587 votes, while Mr Mureithi of Jubilee got 42,501 votes.

Justice Joseph Sergon of the High Court found that violence, intimidation and irregularities affected the final outcome.

But on appeal, the judges said the irregularities and alleged violence was not widespread as alleged.

“It is hereby declared that the appellant was validly elected as member of the National Assembly for Embakasi East constituency and the order nullifying his election and ordering fresh election is hereby quashed and set aside.”

The cases pending include an appeal by former Kitui Governor Julius Malombe who unsuccessfully challenged Mrs Charity Ngilu’s win and former Kirinyaga Senator Daniel Karaba, who unsuccessfully challenged the victory of Charles Kibiru.

Others are Marakwet East MP David Kangogo Bowen, whose election was nullified, his Ugenya MP Mr Chris Karani and Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter.