Wajir governor petition: Witnesses tasked to prove irregularities

Wajir Governor  Ahmed Abdullahi when he took oath of office at the Wajir Stadium on August 25, 2022. [File, Standard]

Witnesses in a petition challenging Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi's election were at pains to demonstrate to an election court how some voters who cast their ballots in the August 9 General Election were not identified by the KIEMS kits.

This is after the witnesses claimed that the contest between the governor and Dr Mohamed Hassan was marred by irregularities and illegalities.

According to them, a large number of voters who cast their ballots were not identified using the Kenya Integrated Management System (KIEMS) kits with widespread reports of voters being issued double ballots.

As a result, the witnesses said Governor got undue advantage in the wards of Arbajahan and Hadado which are perceived his strongholds.

However,  Ibrahim Muhamud could not point out specific polling stations where the kits failed in the two Wards.

 During the cross-examination, he admitted that despite naming the two wards as areas where voters may have been compromised, he did not file an affidavit to support his claims.

“You concede in your affidavit that the elections you participated in as a Senatorial candidate were not free and fair, but why did you not file a petition to challenge the elections for the position of Senator,” posed Omwanza Ombati, the lead counsel for Governor Abdullahi.

In his response, Muhamud said the petition has a financial implication component especially about getting a decent lawyer to prosecute the case. .

According to him, he did not deem it fit to file a petition against the senator.

Muhamud vied on Kanu ticket for Wajir West parliamentary seat in 2013 and 2017 but lost on both occasions but challenged the results through election petitions in 2013 and 2017.

In 2022, he vied for the senate seat in Wajir County on Jubilee Party ticket where he finished a distant 7th.

Abdirahman said he had received complaints from agents in some polling stations indicating that IEBC had resorted to using the manual register after the KIEMS kits failed.

Farhan Abdi, a Jubilee party chief agent echoed his sentiments, saying agents had forwarded to him timely briefs of how they were discriminated against and thrown out of the polling stations.

 Lawyer Omwanza had sought to know how one would tell a voter coming to cast their ballot at  a polling station is allied to which politician for them not to be allowed to vote as claimed by the witnesses.

Abdi admitted to the court that they did not meet any voter who had been turned away from any station.

Although the witnesses had also linked the governor and his deputy to voter tampering, they were put to pain to prove how the respondents were involved in the claims.

IEBC lawyers led by Mahat Somane defend the commission saying that the polls body conducted a free, fair and transparent election despite the claims by the petitioner and his witnesses.

On the clan dynamics, the court was told that of the 12 Degodia sub-clans, 11 had unanimously endorsed governor Abdullahi Jiir.

Only the Fai sub-clan to which the petitioner Hassan Mohamed belongs were indecisive due to fact that 4 of them were running for the office of the governor (Ugas Mohamed, Mohamed Elmi, Dr Hassan Adan, and Mohamed Abdi Mohamud).

Further, the court was told that Abdullahi had the goodwill and support from all the residents of Wajir County irrespective of their clan affiliations.

Abdullahi of ODM won the Wajir governor contest by 35,533 votes followed by Hassan Mohamed Adam of Jubilee who garnered 27,224 votes while Ahmed Mukhtar of UDA finished third with 21,859 votes.

 Others were Mohamed Elmi who vied as an independent candidate garnering 21,047 votes, Abdullahi Ali of UDM got 15,486 and ANC’s Ugas Shikh who got 8,086 votes.

The Standard
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