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Court upholds Otuoma’s election as Funyula MP

POLITICS
By Renson Buluma | September 27th 2013

By Renson Buluma

Busia,KENYA: The High Court in Busia has defended the election of Funyula legislator Paul Otuoma against a petition filed by a voter John Okello Nagafwa seeking to annul the MP’s election.

The court ruled on Thursday that the people of Funyula Constituency duly elected Dr Otuoma and that the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) followed due process when it declared him the winner of the March 4, parliamentary election.

Resident Judge Francis Tuiyott also ordered the petitioner Mr Nagafwa to bear the costs of the suit, which he said should not exceed Sh4million.

The court then ordered the money to be shared by the respondents with Otuoma getting half the amount while the remaining half to be shared between IEBC and Funyula Returning Officer Samson Ojiem.

Nagafwa who lined up 29 witnesses had alleged that the MP’s election was not free and fair because it was marred with electoral malpractices and irregularities such as voter bribery, violence, use of public resources, and alterations on form 35 by the IEBC and infringing the rights of assisted voters.

Widely and clearly

Through his lawyers Alex Msika and Fred Oundo, the petitioner also attempted to portray Otuoma as a man of violent disposition after they alleged that the MP and his supporters disrupted voting at Rumbiye polling station where they assaulted a voter, claims that were vehemently denied by the Otuoma camp led by Siaya Senator James Orengo who represented him as a lead counsel.

However, the judge in his determination dismissed all the allegations as hearsay citing lack of evidence, inconsistency on the side of witnesses, to prove the case against the respondents, adding that the petition was attained of many allegations with little proof.

Tuiyott also cited some instances of coached evidence on the petitioner’s side after three witnesses (all teachers) gave similar accounts using exact statements on an issue of bribery where they claimed Otuoma induced them with money.

 “What is required is the quality of evidence set by the law. The petitioner I am afraid failed to discharge the onus placed on him by the law. The court must all times keep in view the provisions of section 83 of the act, which is significant enough to deserve recalling.”

“The win by the third respondent was never and was not a close call.  The people of Funyula spoke widely and clearly. The court finds that Hon Paul Otuoma was validly declared as the elected member for Funyula,” the Judge said.


 

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