By James Omoro
MIGORI, KENYA: The High Court has ordered re-tallying of Migori gubernatorial votes cast in two polling stations on March 4.
Homa Bay High Court Judge Lady Justice Esther Maina directed that further scrutiny of votes cast during the election be conducted to enable the court to understand the truth of what transpired during the electoral process.
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The exercise that is to include counting of votes and verification of forms 35 and 36 is to be conducted in Ombo (Suna West constituency) and Kengariso (Kuria West).
Form 35 indicates results from polling stations against Forms 36 which contain results of all votes cast in each of the affected constituencies.
The scrutiny to kick off on Wednesday next week will be conducted by Homa Bay Deputy Registrar Patricia Gichohi.
“I am directing that further scrutiny of votes cast at the two polling stations in Migori County to enable us to know exactly what transpired in the election. I have realized that the tallying of votes was afflicted with so many errors that can only be known when we recount them,” the judge ruled.
The court came to the decision after it emerged discrepancies marred the electoral process for the gubernatorial position mainly in the two polling stations.
The exercise will be carried out in the absence of the candidates who contested the gubernatorial race.
However, two agents for each candidate alongside representatives from the Independent electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will be required to attend the scrutiny exercise.
Previously, IEBC told the court sitting in Homabay that irregularities occurred in this year’s General Election for Migori gubernatorial race.
During his testimony before the court, Uriri Elections Co-ordinator Jackton Nyonje who presided over the election in the constituency admitted that the election was afflicted with discrepancies.
According to copies of the election results presented before the court, Nyonje failed to defend his opposition against the election petition that was filed by Prof Edward Oyugi Akong’o to challenge victory of Migori Governor Okoth Obado.
This came after it emerged that the number of valid votes was more than that of the total votes cast even though rejected votes were also recorded.
During cross examination by Oyugi’s Lawyer Stephen Mwenesi , Nyonje said the results indicated that valid votes cast were 35, 297 while the total number of votes cast in Uriri constituency was 35, 161.
According to the petitioner, in a free and fair election, the total number of votes cast should exceed the number of valid votes especially in this case where rejected votes were recorded.
Nyonje told the court that the mistake was just an error that cut across since it did not favour any of the candidates who contested the election.
The returning officer admitted that the mistakes occurred during entry of election results in form 36 due to the pressure they were working under.
The elections boss blamed his clerks for making the entries which culminated in wrong figures in declaring election results.
“I want to say that the election was conducted freely and fairly but the errors were made by my clerks during data entry,” Nyonje told the court.