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All is not lost, vows Ranguma as court dismisses petition against Nyong’o

By Kevine Omollo | Jan 4th 2018 | 3 min read
Former governor Jack Ranguma in court before his petition challenging the election of Governor Peter Anyang' Nyong'o was dismissed. [Denish Ochieng| Standard]

A former Kisumu governor yesterday lost a court battle in which he had sought to overturn the victory of his successor.

Jack Ranguma put a brave face on it and declared that the war was far from over after High Court judge David Majanja dismissed his petition challenging Peter Anyang’ Nyong’s election.

The former county boss said he would seek justice in a higher court even as the judge ordered him to pay the respondents, Prof Nyong’o and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Sh2.5 million each.

Majanja declined to order fresh elections, as sought by Ranguma, saying the applicant failed to convince the court that the polls were not free and fair.

Ranguma, who contested the seat as an independent candidate after losing the ODM nomination to Nyong’o, came in second with 156,963 votes against his successor’s 227,127 votes.

The former governor claimed that he actually won by 245,534 votes against Nyong’o’s 167,716.

He based his petition on alleged partiality by IEBC officials, lack of transparency, including in transmission of results, and claims of massive illegalities.

He claimed there was use of unofficial ballot papers, ballot stuffing, and use of extra ballot papers. He claimed spoilt votes were counted in his rival’s favour.

Ranguma also claimed entries in forms 37A, 37B, and 37C were altered. He said IEBC, in the absence of his agents, broke seals on ballot boxes and interfered with votes.

He also accused IEBC of using documents that did not have security features. He said the electoral agency also failed to address the complaints he had raised about the results.

However, Justice Majanja said Ranguma had failed to present any evidence to substantiate his claims.

The judge said Ranguma relied on affidavits by witnesses to build the case and termed the former governor’s allegations as vague and embarrassing.

“The burden of establishing allegations of non-compliance with the Constitution and the law, electoral malpractice, and misconduct, which would result in the election being declared invalid, rests on the petitioner,” said Majanja.

Ranguma claimed Nyong’o colluded with IEBC to alter results transmitted through the Kenya Integrated Electoral Management Systems (KIEMS).

He argued that analysis of the transmission system revealed massive infiltration by agents of Nyong’o, leading to alteration of results in his favour.

However, Majanja told a packed court room that electronic transmission of results was not a statutory requirement in the race and that any faults in the system would not affect the results as declared in forms 37A at polling stations.

“A reading of section 39 (1C) of the Act shows electronic transmission and publication of polling results in a public portal is only a statutory requirement for the presidential election. Further, except for voter registration and voter identification, voting, counting, tallying, and transmission of results for other posts, including that of the governor, are mainly manual,” said the judge.

“The window is not closed yet. We still have time to evaluate and decide whether to go for an appeal. I will have to sit with my lawyer and look at the issues the judge has raised,” said Ranguma.

He added: “I ask my supporters not to lose hope and stay firm as we look into the matter and decide our next move. Stolen things do not last.”

Nyong’o was not in court when the judgement was delivered but was represented by his deputy, Mathews Owili.

Owili, who was accompanied by the governor’s lawyer, James Orengo, Senator Fred Outa, Woman Representative Roza Buyu, and a host of MCAs and county staffs, addressed supporters at Jomo Kenyatta Sports Ground.

“The courts have confirmed Nyong’o is the governor and we will not look back. I, therefore, seek the support of all elected leaders to enable us deliver our promises to the people,” said Owili.

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