My faith abhors bribery, Wanjiru tells court

Busia

By Nancy Akinyi and Judy Ogutu

Housing Assistant Minister Margaret Wanjiru has denied bribing election officials during the 2007 General Elections.

Bishop Wanjiru told a Nairobi court it was impossible to bribe the officials at the tallying centre.

Her advocate Chacha Odera denied all the allegations of voter bribery. Mr Odera told court the bishop’s Christian faith could not allow her to bribe any one.

Her chief agent Geoffrey Ombogo said the tallying was done openly and he did not see the MP walking to the podium with her handbag to bribe the officials.

"It was impossible for the bishop to do such a thing given the hostility of the crowd at the Kenya Polytechnic tallying hall," he told the court.

The petitioner, former MP Maina Kamanda, in his testimony, had accused Wanjiru of bribing voters and election officials.

He also accused her of soliciting for votes from her Jesus is Alive Ministries congregation and supplying sodas to voters on the voting day.

Yesterday, Mr Ombogo denied a claim against the returning officer of locking himself at a secluded place at the tallying hall and altering results in favour of Wanjiru.

In the open

"Your honour, the returning officer tallied the votes in full view of those present in the hall and at no time did he leave the podium," he said.

He told trial Judge Kihara Kariuki the tallying was interrupted once when police lobbed tear gas canisters into the tallying hall.

Meanwhile, security has been beefed up ahead of scrutiny of votes cast in the constituency during the elections.

The corridor leading to the room where ballot boxes were kept is a no-go zone for the public.

Armed police officers guarded the room as court officers sorted the ballot boxes. Parties to the case agreed the sorting out was necessary to facilitate smooth flow of the scrutiny and avoid delays.

Bishop Wanjiru’s bid to block the scrutiny of votes flopped at the Court of Appeal.

Elsewhere, a case in which Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta is seeking to have his name removed from a report on post-election violence has been pushed to March 18.

Lawyers in the case told Justices Roselyn Wendoh and Abida Ali Aroni, they would argue their points during the hearing of the main suit.

On February 8, the case was adjourned after the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights advocate Pheroze Nowrojee said Mr Kenyatta’s application had five defects.

The judges directed him to file the grounds on which he wanted to object to the application and serve it on the deputy PM’s lawyer Desterio Oyatsi so that he could respond.