19 July 2018

Kenya: 4 MPs Survive Election Petitions

Four MPs have survived court battles lodged by their rivals in the August 8, 2017 elections.

The Court of Appeal in Mombasa and Kisumu on Thursday handed lifeline to the four lawmakers after overturning a High Court ruling and upholding three others.

In Mombasa, Mr Stanley Muthama bounced back as Lamu West MP after the second highest court in the land set aside the High Court decision that quashed his win.

Judges found that irregularities and the breach of electoral laws that the High Court cited in its decision did not affect the election of Mr Muthama.

In Kisumu, the appeals court upheld electoral victories of MPs Justus Kizito (Shinyalu), Bernard Shinali (Ikolomani) and Chris Omulele (Luanda).

In Mr Kizito's case, where the appellant was Sylvanus Anami, the judges said the election was done in conformity with the law.

"The appellant failed to discharge burden of proof to convince the court there was electoral fraud," said Justice Fatuma Sichale, who read the ruling on behalf of the bench

In Mr Shinali's case, Judge Sichale said the irregularities pointed out by appellant, Mr Butichi Khamisi, were minimal and could not invalidate the entire election.

"Anomalies in one polling station or elective position is not enough to nullify the entire election. But what happened was also human error," she said.

She added: "Accuracy does not mean free from error. Simple arithmetic mistakes are bound to happen since electoral officials must have worked for over 24 hours."

An appeal filed by Arthur Kibira challenging election of Luanda MP Chris Omulele was also struck out because the notice was filed out of time.

"Notice of appeal was filed erroneously at Kakamega," said the judge.

There was however dissenting judgement by Judge Odek who indicated that failure to file notice in time does not make an appeal entirely incompetent.

More follows.

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