16 January 2018

Kenya: Samboja Survives Poll Petition As Courts Clear 89 Cases

Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja on Monday became the latest county boss to survive an election petition.

This was after Justice Erick Ogolla dismissed a case challenging the move to clear him to vie for the gubernatorial seat on claims that he does not have a degree as required by law.

Justice Ogolla said there was another petition challenging Mr Samboja's academic qualifications.

In Nairobi, Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi got an automatic 30-day reprieve after filing a notice to appeal a decision nullifying his election.

His election was nullified by Justice Alfred Mabeya on Friday, saying that it was marred by irregularities and that Mr Abdi failed to prove that he holds a degree as he alleges.

IRREGULARITIES

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The petition was filed by former Governor Ahmed Abdullahi Mohamad who also cited irregularities and the fact that Mr Abdi did not have a degree.

Justice Mabeya faulted the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officials saying they breached the principle of the secrecy of the ballot when the presiding officers asked voters to shout their candidate of choice during the voting. The court heard that many voters in Wajir were illiterate and had to be assisted to vote.

And because of inter-clan rivalry within the county, public disclosure of one's preferred candidate could invite victimization.

FAULTED IEBC

He also faulted IEBC for failing to show the record of the assisted voters.

"It is inconceivable that out of 16,170 who voted, they could only produce a list of four assisted voters despite there being evidence that the majority of the people there are illiterate and many of them were assisted to vote," Justice Mabeya said.

He also said the record of the election through the prescribed forms 37A, 37B and 37C was neither accountable nor credible.

"From the irregularities, the Commission cannot be said to have conducted the elections competently and efficiently," he said adding that "It follows therefore that the first respondent was not validly elected as the governor of Wajir County."

89 CASES CLEARED

So far, courts have cleared a total of 89 election petitions, with one governor (Wajir) losing his seat.

Some 348 election petitions were filed contesting various seats after the August 8 General Election.

Cases challenging the election of 10 governors have been cleared while three senators have also survived.

Courts have also cleared 17 cases challenging the election of MPs and 51 cases challenging the election of MCAs.

MORE JUDGEMENTS

More judgements are on the way towards the end of January and early February.

They include that challenging Kajiado Governor Joseph ole Lenku's election (January 25), Tana River Governor Dhadho Godana (January 26), Garissa Town MP Aden Duale (January 27) and Embakasi East MP Babu Owino (February 5).

Other election petitions that are about to be concluded include a petition challenging the election of Wajir West MP Mohamed Ahmed Kolosh, a petition challenging the election of Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, a petition filed by Wavinya Ndeti contesting the election of Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and a petition challenging the election of Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok.

EVIDENCE

Justice Francis Tuiyot has concluded hearing evidence from all parties in a petition filed by Mr Abdirahman Ibrahim Mohamed, who is challenging the election of Wajir West MP Mr Kolosh.

The court is awaiting the scrutiny and recount of votes from four polling stations, which the petitioner claims contain anomalies.

Other than Mr Samboja, other governors who have survived so far include Mike Sonko (Nairobi), Anyang' Nyong'o (Kisumu), Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga), Samuel Tunai (Narok), Salim Mvurya (Kwale) and Kiraitu Murungi (Meru).

The MPs who have survived petition cases are Malindi's Aisha Jumwa, Kilifi North MP Owen Baya, Nyatike MP Tom Odeges, Kwale Woman Representative Zuleikha Juma, Vihiga MP Ernest Kivai and Embakasi West MP George Theuri.

Others are Kilifi Woman Representative Gertrude Mbeyu, Ganze MP Teddy Mwambire, Tetu MP James Mwangi Gichuhi and Jomvu MP Bady Twalib.

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