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High Court judgment on Yatta petition to be known on Friday

By Erastus Mulwa | Published Mon, January 15th 2018 at 15:07, Updated January 15th 2018 at 15:35 GMT +3
Former Yatta MP Francis Mwangangi and his supporters at Machakos High Court On Monday: The court will announce its verdict on a petition he has filed against the victory of Charles Kilonzo to whom he lost in the last election. [John Muia, Standard]

Machakos, Monday, January 15: Voters in Yatta constituency, Machakos County, will this Friday know whether they will vote in a by-action or not.

This is after Machakos High Court judge Justice Aggrey Muchelule, who has been hearing a petition filed by former MP, Francis Mwangangi challenging the victory of Charles Kilonzo, said he would deliver the judgment this week.

Today all parties to the case made their final oral submissions in the High Court after more than three months of vicious court battle.

Lawyer Andrew Makundi who is leading the legal team for Mr Mwangangi submitted  his earlier submissions that the Yatta Constituency returning officer, Nicholas Kalimi, who is listed as the second respondent in the petition, was not properly mandated in law to preside over the parliamentary election as he harboured both political and financial interests in the  constituency.

“The legal requirements governing the conduct of elections demand that results must be verifiable and accountable. That requirement is not a mere formality and we submit that the returning officer should not be politically interested,” said Makundi.

Makundi further submitted that IEBC admitted failure to train agents of the petitioner and gave no reasons for failure to do so.

He urged the court to find that irregularities and illegalities had been committed and certain thresholds not met and therefore election of the third respondent should not stand.

But lawyer Bernard Mung’ata for the MP urged the court to dismiss the petition in its entirety, saying the petitioner had failed to demonstrate illegalities and irregularities.

He told the court the duty of proving the grounds of the petition lay with the petitioner who had failed to provide sufficient evidence why the election of the third respondent must be declared null and void.

His sentiments were echoed by lawyer Wilfred Nyamu, who submitted that the petitioner had dwelt on generalities in an endeavo7r to have the election of the MP nullified.

“This court must, therefore, dismiss this petition as one that submitted merit,” said Nyamu.