Petitions: D-Day for eight governors

The Supreme Court will decide the fate of these governors on Friday, December 21 when it delivers judgements on petitions about their election. [Standard}
The Supreme Court of Kenya will tomorrow seal the political fate of eight governors, more than a year after the 2017 General Election.

The five-judge bench of the apex court will also rule on the petitions of seven MPs.

In a public notice, Deputy Registrar of the Supreme Court Daniel Ole Keiwau, said the rulings will begin with the appeal by Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua.

Machakos

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua during a past parliamentary probe. [File, Standard]
Governor Alfred Mutua’s victory was reversed after his rival, former Kathiani MP Wavinya Ndeti, convinced the Court of Appeal that the Machakos governorship results were manipulated to favour her competitor.

She had appealed after Machakos High Court judge Aggrey Muchelule ruled that her petition lacked merit and upheld Mutua’s victory.

While defending his win at the Supreme Court, Mutua argued the procedural technicalities in last year’s elections did not warrant the nullification.

IEBC also contested the nullification on the grounds that the Court of Appeal focused on human errors and overlooked the will of the people.

Ndeti has, however, pushed for fresh elections claiming the results were announced despite the omission of results from 145 polling stations.

Regaling on today's victory, Governor Mutua's lawyer Wilfred Nyamu said: "We are happy that the Supreme Court has set the law where it belongs. One of the things it has done is to nullify a regulation that was meant to override a statutory provision pof the law. A returning officer will not be the one to determine who has been elected by the people. A jurisprudence [principle] has been set".

An upbeat Mutua declared he would now run for president in 2022. "Twenty twenty-two here we come," he said and vowed to move Kenya's politics beyond democracy to economic empowerment where people "will have money in their pockets."

Kwale

Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya at a Senate audit session in September 2018. [File, Standard]
Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya’s election was initially challenged by a petitioner Mwamlole Tchapu Mbwana.

In November 2017 High Court Judge Mugure Thande struck out the case saying Mwamlole had not followed due election petitions rules.

Mwamlole filed an appeal but withdrew it before it was heard. Three voters Suleiman Mwamlole Warrakah, Mwarapayo Wa-Mwachai and Matsudzo Hamisi Mwamrez took issue with the nature of the withdrawal as they had nominated Mwamlole to file the case.

The three want Mvurya’s victory nullified citing irregularities.

Salim Mvurya was re-elected for a second term in office on a Jubilee party ticket after garnering 119,680 votes beating his closest rival Chirau Ali Makwere’s 29,741.

Makwere resigned as Kenya’s High Commissioner to Tanzania to seek the governorship on a Wiper Democratic Movement party ticket.

Nyamira

Nyamira Governor John Nyagarama cast his vote during the 2017 General Elections. [File, Standard]
In Governor John Nyagarama’s case, Jubilee candidate Walter Nyambati, who lost by 6,225 votes, wants the Supreme Court to order fresh elections.

Court of Appeal judges Stephen Gatembu, Asike Makhandia and Kathurima M’inoti dismissed the petition on grounds that Nyambati’s concerns did not affect the outcome of the election.

Governor Nyagarama has on numerous occasions said he will still win even if they were to go back to the ballot box.

Embu

Embu Governor Martin Wambora when he appeared before the Senate Assembly County Public Accounts and Investment Committee in October 2018. [File, Standard]
Embu’s Martin Wambora, the governor with nine lives, will yet again know the outcome of his fight to save his seat.

In February, Justice William Musyoka nullified his election on the grounds that it was marred by irregularities which undermined the electoral process. The petition was filed by Lenny Kivuti.

A three-judge bench overturned the nullification and revised the cost of petition set by the High Court.

They said the learned judge erred in law, as the minor irregularities did not warrant nullifying the win.

“He dealt with issues that had not been raised before him,” said appellate court’s Justice Fatuma Sichale.

Martin Wambora served as Runyenjes Member of Parliament for two terms before winning the Embu governorship twice.

Wambora would become the first governor to be impeached and the only one to face the jeopardy twice.

Laikipia

Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi when he appeared to answer to audit questions before a Senate Committee. [File, Standard]
Governor Ndiritu Muriithi has twice survived the onslaught from a voter Sammy Ndung’u Waity who is challenging his election.

Both the High Court and Court of Appeal okayed his win but Ndung’u moved to the Supreme Court.

 He cited unlawful exclusion of key witnesses’ affidavits that he argued would have demonstrated incidents of electoral malpractice in the August 8, 2017 election.

Wajir

Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi. [File, Standard]
Lamu

Governor Fahim Twaha at a past court session. [File, Standard]
Former Lamu governor Issa Timamy’s petition challenging Governor Fahim Twaha and his deputy Abdulhakim Aboud Bwana’s victory has been dismissed at the High and Appeal Courts.

Timamy, who is also a lawyer, argues the election was fraught with illegalities and massive irregularities that affected results of the election.

Appellate judge Justice Alnashir Visram ruled that Timamy had failed to substantiate the alleged irregularities and anomalies.

Visram dismissed all the 41 grounds of appeal, stating that no evidence was adduced to support claims of electoral malpractices, bias, marked ballot papers and denial of some voters their right to vote.

Homa Bay

Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti responds to audit queries when he appeared before the Senate Public Accounts and Investment Committee in April 2018. [File, Standard]
Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti put up a spirited fight before the Supreme Court for his last chance to retain his seat after both the High Court and Court of Appeal declared that he was not validly elected.

During the hearing, he told the top court he had fairly won the August 8 election and blamed his opponents for using fake evidence to have his election nullified.

Through senior counsels Prof Tom Ojienda, James Orengo and Otiende Amolo, Awiti said the Court of Appeal failed to consider material evidence that had been ignored by the High Court.

Former Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga, who came second in the polls, is seeking to reverse the governor’s election.

MPS

Also to know their fates are Marsabit County Women Representative seat, Embakasi South, Kilgoris, Nandi Hills, Ugenya, Bonchari constituencies and four other election petitions.

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