22 November 2017

Kenya: Video 'Links' Homa Bay Governor to Voter Bribery

Former Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga's witness in the ongoing Homa Bay gubernatorial petition hearing on Wednesday produced video evidence before court allegedly connecting Governor Cyprian Awiti to bribery of voters.

The witness told the court that the governor engaged in electoral misconduct by bribing voters before the August 8 General Election.

The witness, Mr Maddo Ochieng', testified during cross-examination that some county government officials were seen giving money to voters at Kodula market, Rachuonyo North Sub-County, to influence their choice of governor candidates.

CAMPAIGNS

"I witnessed and recorded Chief Officers and County Executive Committee Members giving out money to voters during campaigns," said Mr Ochieng', "They were driving around in county government vehicles."

Mr Magwanga filed the petition to challenge the re-election of Mr Awiti and his deputy Hamilton Orata.

Mr Ochieng' told the court that he had gathered enough proof that Mr Awiti was re-elected unfairly. The witness claimed that the governor demanded that he be declared the winner without following the proper procedure.

In the video clips presented before court, Mr Ochieng' claimed that the governor demanded that the county returning officer, Mr Michael Kosgei, declare the election results before receiving all the polling materials.

CLIPS

"There were delays at the county tallying centre on the declaration of election results because the election forms were not submitted on time," said Mr Ochieng'. "However, Governor Awiti demanded that the declaration should be made without all the electoral documents."

Mr Awiti's lawyer Steve Biko and the IEBC's Fredrick Orego, however, dismissed the claims, citing lack of trust in the videos and their origin.

Mr Biko argued that the video clips did not connect the governor with the offence that Mr Magwanga alleged in his case.

"The videos were captured on different dates and, therefore, cannot be used as evidence that they influenced the declaration of results being challenged," said Mr Biko.

Mr Orego claimed that the video could be manipulated before being brought to court.

He argued that the witness could have recorded the videos before the campaigns and they should not be used as evidence to challenge the re-electionof Governor Awiti.

"The videos could have been recorded at a past event and not necessarily during the campaigns, meaning that they cannot be relied upon as evidence that voters were being bribed," said Mr Orego.

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