Costly poll petitions as winners smile to the bank

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua celebrates his victory at the Supreme Court in Nairobi yesterday. He won against Wavinya Ndeti who had challenged his election. [Beverlyne Musili, Standard]
Two governors are likely to pocket up to Sh10 million each after winning election petitions that could have dented their political careers.

Supreme Court judges ruled that governors Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and Salim Mvurya (Kwale) be paid legal costs of the cases by those who challenged their victories from the High Court to the highest court.

The amount to be paid had been capped by the High Court but the deputy registrars of the three courts will have to tax the same by taking into account issues such as how many lawyers one instructed to represent him/her, the number of witnesses, correspondence and travelling costs.

At the High Court, Wavinya Ndeti and her co-petitioner Peter Mathuki were ordered to pay Mutua Sh10 million and the same amount to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) while Mvurya’s was capped at Sh2.5 million.

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On the other hand, five governors face a tense Christmas as they await the Supreme Court to rule on the petitions against their election.

They are Homa Bay’s Cyprian Awiti, John Nyagarama (Nyamira), Nderitu Muriithi (Laikipia), Fahim Twaha (Lamu) and Mohammed Abdi (Wajir).

In dismissing the petition against Mutua, the court said Wavinya failed to prove that Urbanus Wambua Musyoka, who was an agent for Maendeleo Chap Chap party, was an employee of the Machakos County government.

Nothing irregular

“We did not find any evidence that the said Urbanus Wambua Musyoka was one and the same person as the Chief Officer of the County Government. We also found nothing irregular in the engagement of the other employees of the county government in the conduct of the election as there was no evidence of any partial conduct on the part of any of them,” said Chief Justice David Maraga.

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The CJ said Form 37C used to declare the result was signed by all parties required, including the candidates’ agents.

In the form, Mutua won with 249,603 votes against Wavinya’s 209,141.

“Those numbers, which were not disputed, still leaves the first appellant (Mutua) ahead of the first respondent (Wavinya) with a margin of 40,000 votes,” Maraga said.

Apart from Maraga, Justices Mohamed Ibrahim, JB Ojwang and Isaac Lenaola, their colleague Njoki Ndung’u gave a different view on the issue, saying the alleged non-conformity of Form 37C was not pleaded.

Regarding Mvurya, the court upheld the lower courts’ decisions that the petitioner failed to include Kwale deputy governor as a respondent in his application that sought to challenge the governor’s election.

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Mutua told the Saturday Standard that after losing more than a year fighting to retain the seat, the Supreme Court has now given him the mandate to work.

“I have to bulldoze using super magic chap chap to ensure projects of first priority are put in place,” said the governor.

Machakos County has only been receiving funds for recurrent expenditure from the national government due to failure by the County Assembly to pass the County Integrated Development Plan.

Election PetitionsGovernor Alfred MutuaSalim MvuryaSupreme Court