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Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti moves to Supreme Court to stop by-election

By Paul Ogemba and Jean Ruhiu | Published Tue, July 24th 2018 at 00:00, Updated July 23rd 2018 at 21:10 GMT +3

Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti responds to audit queries when he appeared before the Senate Public Accounts and Investment Committee at Parliament on Wednesday 30/05/18. [Photo: Boniface Okendo,Standard]

Voters in Homa Bay County will wait a little longer to know if they will return to the ballot to elect a new governor.

This is after Governor Cyprian Awiti (pictured) lodged an appeal before the Supreme Court to challenge a decision to nullify his win.

Mr Awiti is seeking the top most court’s intervention following two rulings from the High Court and the Court of Appeal which found that he was not validly elected Homa Bay governor in the August 8, 2017.

Through lawyer Tom Ojienda, the governor argues that the Court of Appeal, which nullified his win last week failed to take into consideration key evidence, including scrutiny and a recount of votes that showed he defeated his opponent, Oyugi Magwanga.

“The Appellate judges made a mistake by failing to consider the deputy registrar’s report which had shown that the Homa Bay governor election was free, fair, transparent and verifiable and confirmed that Awiti had won the election,” said Ojienda.

Temporary orders

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The governor is seeking temporary orders to stop the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) from conducting a by-election until the Supreme Court determines the dispute.

According to Prof Ojienda, the Court of Appeal failed to consider evidence that had been ignored by the High Court, despite acknowledging that the failure was a fundamental error of law.

He argued that Awiti’s case was mishandled right from the High Court where his fundamental rights were violated after the Judge applied different standards of proof.

“The High Court and the Court of Appeal irregularly shifted the burden of proof to the governor and the IEBC when the contestant (Magwanga) had failed to prove his allegations that there was collusion to forge Form 37As,” said Ojienda.

Justice Joseph Karanja nullified Awiti’s win on February 20 on grounds of illegalities committed during the election.

The ruling was affirmed by judges Philip Waki, Fatuma Sichale and Otieno Odek, making Awiti the second governor to lose his seat after Machakos’ Alfred Mutua.

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