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Fresh controversy over Taita Taveta ODM gubernatorial ticket

POLITICS
By Renson Mnyamwezi | May 1st 2017
Taita-Taveta County Governor John Mruttu. (Photo: Edward Kiplimo/Standard)

The decision to nullify the results of the disputed Orange party primaries has deepened the row between Taita-Taveta County Governor John Mruttu and Wundanyi MP Thomas Mwadeghu.

In its ruling on Saturday, the ODM National Elections Appeals Board nullified the April, 17 nomination results and directed that the provisional certificate issued to Mr Mwadeghu be withdrawn.

The board directed the party's National Election board (NEB) to repeat the nominations in two wards in Taveta Sub-county.

Delivered judgement

The judgement was delivered by the chairperson of the appeals board, Willis Otieno, and signed by four other members - Florence Omondi, Richard Bosire, David Muthama and Mohammed Hajir

But in an interview with The Standard yesterday, Mwadeghu said the nominations would not be repeated as time for the exercise had already lapsed.

"It is true the appeals board has recommended the exercise in Taveta constituency be repeated but the NEB has declined to execute the orders because the official nominations period has ended," claimed the Parliamentary Minority Whip.

But speaking separately Mr Mruttu and his supporters said the nominations would be repeated as directed by the appeals board.

There was joy and dance among Mruttu's supporters after the board nullified the nomination results.

"I had petitioned the appeals board and judgement has been delivered. We have until May 19 to repeat the nominations. If NEB refuses to execute the order, I will be forced to go to the Political Parties and Tribunal to enforce it," said Mruttu.

The governor had challenged the nomination of Mwadeghu as the ODM political party gubernatorial nominee for the county. Both parties appeared before the board.

In his submission, the MP admitted that results from five polling stations were not part of the tally at the time the provisional certificate was issued.

In his affidavit, Mruttu said the county electoral process was not complete at the time of the declaration of the results and issuance of the provisional certificate to the MP.

"The exercise was marred by a lot of irregularities that rendered the whole process unfair and therefore the results are null and void and ought to be nullified, cancelled and/or repeated afresh or in the bare minimum voting to be conducted in the polling stations where it never took place," argued Mruttu.

Nominations challenges

County Returning Officer Lawrence Ole Sempele confirmed the nomination process was not without its challenges especially in transportation of polling materials to various polling stations.

"It had rained the previous night and the terrain was bad in some of the areas, making them inaccessible," he said in his affidavit to the Appeals Board.

Mr Ole Sempele said voting did not take place in Njukini, Challa, St Joseph's Kivukoni primary schools and Mahandakini, all in Challa Ward, and Jipe polling station in Mata Ward.

Sempele admitted he issued provisional certificates to leading aspirants but made it clear to them that the certificates were only provisional.

Mwadeghu was leading Mruttu with 17,567 votes against 14,817.

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