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Azimio team: We stand a good chance in court

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 NASA supporters react when the 2017 presidential election was nullified by the Supreme Court. [File, Standard]

Azimio presidential campaign chairman Ndiritu Muriithi is optimistic the petition they hope to file in court will overturn the declaration of William Ruto as president-elect.

The outgoing Laikipia governor said yesterday that a lot went wrong with the election which needed the intervention of the Supreme Court.

Ruto was declared winner of the August 9 election but Azimio has protested the result and are expected to file a petition today.

Citing instances such as mismatch in votes cast and voter turnout, and disagreement between commissioners, Ndiritu said electoral commission chairman Wafula Chebukati had bungled the election.

He said the coalition had amassed evidence including the mismatch in the number of votes cast for president at the county level and other county seats to suggest that there were massive electoral malpractices, including ballot stuffing.

"That suggests there was ballot stuffing. But that is why going to court is necessary because it doesn't actually make sense," he said.

He claimed some counties had discrepancies between the total number of votes cast for president and the total number for governor, senator or woman rep or all the MPs combined.

"It would imply that there are people who went to polling stations and did not bother to vote for any other seat. But the question then becomes, what did they do with the ballot? Did they put them in their pockets and walked away? Did they throw it away? What actually happened to the ballots?" he posed.

Broke the law

Muriithi was defending his Laikipia seat but lost to UDA's Joshua Irungu who he had defeated in 2017.

Away from his own race, Ndiritu said Chebukati had broken the law in the manner he handled the results verification and declaration.

"In proceeding, it is my view that Chebukati broke the law. Because the law provides that you have to scrutinise tally and process these results as a commission. Whether or not it is the chairperson to announce, it is the commission that verifies," he said.

He said results verification did not happen as prescribed by the law and also questioned why IEBC changed the order of verifying the forms 34A and 34B.

"We know for a fact, and I was at Bomas, that these did not happen and the chair changed the rules halfway through the game," he said.

In the original flow of results verification, he said, the Form 34B would arrive from the field brought in by Returning Officers, and would be scrutinised by all the agents and when everybody was satisfied, the results would be announced.

"Then the chair decided that the forms should be submitted to him first, he tallies then verifies. So how is that free of fair? he posed.

Changed rules

"The whole point of having agents there is so that they satisfy themselves that there is nothing wrong. It was a flaw for the chair to change the rules halfway through so that when the returning officer comes, they go to a closed room only with the chair. Why would you need to do things behind closed doors," he said.

He further questioned why IEBC stopped displaying the cumulative tally as they were being verified.

"That cumulative tally was withdrawn so nobody except Chebukati and the IT guy could tell what was happening. The commissioners themselves were in the dark, all they could do was read the constituency results but they could not see how that was adding up," he claimed.

The Laikipia governor claimed the commission did not allow the agents for presidential candidates scrutinise the tally.

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