Siaya governor Cornel Rasanga has a sigh of relieve after the High court dismissed a petition filed by former Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo challenging his election in the August 8, 2017 poll.
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Justice Esther Maina also slapped Gumbo with a Sh3 million in costs after he failed to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt as courts dismissed three other petitions in Nyanza.
Emotions ran high as Gumbo's supporters led by his wife Susan Adhiambo broke down into tears following the judgement while Rasanga's supporters broke into song and dance.
Gumbo dismissed the ruling saying that he was the "people's governor" adding that he will consult with his lawyers on whether to lodge an appeal or not.
The former legislator had challenged the outcome of the August 8 elections on grounds that it was marred with several irregularities and had wanted Rasanga's win nullified by the court.
However, Justice Maina dismissed allegations that Gumbo had cited saying that the irregularities that had been identified could have not affected the outcome of the results.
She noted that a scrutiny of the votes as had been requested by Gumbo confirmed that there was no over-voting.
“During the scrutiny of the votes which was conducted by the court’s registrar, the petitioner’s (Gumbo) votes reduced by 2, 033 while Rasanga’s increased by 3, 949,” said Maina.
The judge also stated that the evidences provided by Gumbo to prove that Rasanga used relief food to woo voters fell short of the standards required.
According to Judge Maina, there were indeed illegalities and irregularities in a manner in which the Form37s were posted, but it did not affect the results of the gubernatorial elections at all.
“Indeed there were alterations of statutory forms, failure to send results electronically and there were also irregularities in the manner IEBC posted results, but this did not affect the final results. From this, I can therefore conclude that the results were not fraudulent,” she explained.
Rasanga’s supporters, who had thronged the court room and outside broke into song and dance. The governor was also accompanied by Siaya leaders including MPs Opiyo Wandayi(Ugunja), Sam Atandi (Alego-Usonga), Dr Christine Ombaka (Women Rep) and Elisha Odhiambo(Gem).
Earlier on, there was a minor stampede as supporters of the politicians, journalists and politicians tried to get into the small court room.
Speaking after the verdict, governor Rasanga extended an olive branch to Gumbo and his supporters and urged him to work with him, saying that in politics there are no permanent enemies.
“I call upon all leaders to come together for the sake of development. It has been a rough and tough journey but I thank the people for their overwhelming support,” said Rasanga.
Gumbo on the other hand said that he did not agree with the verdict but will consult with his lawyers to give way forward.
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“We do not agree with the verdict but we accept it. I will talk to my lawyers whether we are appealing or not, I will leave to fight another day. I am not going anywhere and am still around,” added Gumbo.
Meanwhile in the same court, a former four term MP Jakoyo Midiwo suffered a huge blow after the court ordered him to pay Sh3 million in costs after he lost a petition he had filed to challenge the election of Elisha Odhiambo as Gem MP.
Justice Maina ruled that Midiwo did not provide sufficient evidence to prove that the August 8, 2017 election was marred with irregularities.
She also dismissed allegations of voter bribery, violence on the petitioner’s agents and influence of the Orange Democratic (ODM) party as hearsay.
In Kisumu, Justice David Majanja dismissed a petition challenging the election of Edward Kaunya as Teso North MP.
Jubilee party's Arthur Papa had challenged the election on several grounds including claims of irregularities rocking the exercise.
In his judgement however, Justice Majanja said that the petition had "failed and therefore is dismissed.
In Kisii, women representative Janet Ongera will now magnificently serve her first term in office after High Court Judge Anthony Ndungu upheld her August 207 election.
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The Judge said that an election is a political sacred act and courts must respect this unless clear evidence is produced to dispute the results.
Ndungu said the degree of prove in any election petition should be above balance of probability.
A voter, Nahashon Akunga, a Jubilee party agent who contested Ongera's win was slapped with a Sh2.5 million in costs.
Tomorrow, governors Okoth Obado(Migori) and James Ongwae (Kisii) will know their fates with the high courts in Kisii and Migori expected to deliver their judgements.
By Olivia Odhiambo, Isaiah Gwengi, Erick Abuga and Harold Odhiambo