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I did not use county staff during elections, Mutua tells court

By Erastus M Mulwa | Published Tue, January 9th 2018 at 13:35, Updated January 9th 2018 at 13:42 GMT +3
Machakos County Governor Dr. Alfred Mutua testifies in a petition filed against his victory by former Kathiani Mp Wavinya Ndeti at Machakos High court. [Photo by John Muia/Standard]

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua on Tuesday tore into the petition filed in the High Court by former Kathiani MP Wavinya Ndeti when he took the witness stand to defend his election.

In a dramatic and heated cross examination by Wavinya’s lawyers led by Willis Ochieng, Dr Mutua rejected  all claims advanced by the petitioner in her affidavit and pleaded with the court to dismiss the case.

For close to one and half hours, Mutua fielded the petitioner's  questions as he sought to exonerate himself from allegations that he was responsible for some election illegalities  on which the petition is based.

Among the allegations Mutua  fought off included claims that he used county government resources during campaigns, as well as some staff members of the county government as party agents on the day of elections.

Dr Mutua also denied claims by Wavinya that some county employees riding a county government vehicle was spotted bribing voters in Mavoko constituency, on the eve of the General Election.

The governor also defended his cabinet from allegations some of them engaged in political affairs, saying executive committee members (ECMs) are political appointees.

Mutua said the fact that he is the party leader of Maendeleo Chap Chap did not make him the appointing authority of the party’s polling agents.

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Lawyer Willis Ochieng, for Wavinya questioned Dr Mutua on his involvement in nominating party agents who acted on behalf of the governor and other candidates under his political party.

But Mutua maintained he was not responsible for the appointments as the secretariat takes full responsibility for the appointment of agents.

“I am the party leader of Maendeleo Chap Chap party, which is a national outfit with a full-fledged secretariat which was responsible for recruiting the party’s polling agents across the country. I have no knowledge of any county official recruited for the same, neither did I influence any such recruitment,” Dr Mutua told Justice Aggrey Muchelule.

And asked about the ‘suspicious timing’ of the launch of table banking program for women and youth a few weeks to the general election, the governor said, “The table banking program has been an ongoing initiative by the county government since 2014, and is aimed at empowering women in entrepreneurship. The program’s funds are budgeted and facilitated through the county assembly.”

Mutua also dismissed claims that some of his executive committee members (ECMs) had been engaging in political affairs in the course of their duties. “ECMs, who are the equivalent of cabinet ministers in the national Government, are political appointees. Nothing stops them from engaging in politics because their survival is indeed political,” he said.

He said the results declared by IEBC, to the best of his knowledge met the test of accuracy and urged the court to dismiss the petition and uphold his victory.

More to follow

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