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Election losers take battle for seats to court

By Standard Team | September 5th 2017
Mandera Governor Ali Roba is sworn in office by Justice Chacha Mwita at Moi Stadium in Mandera on 17/08/17.Boniface Okendo

Voters in Mandera County could be headed for a by-election after one of the losing candidates petitioned the court in Nairobi to nullify Governor Ali Roba’s win.

Hassan Noor, who contested the seat on an Economic Freedom Party (EFP) ticket, Monday argued that the governorship election in Mandera was marred by such ‘massive irregularities’ that no one could have been legally declared the winner.

Through senior counsel Tom Ojienda, Mr Noor submitted that the elections were characterised by ballot staffing, double voting, system failure, illegal extension of voting time beyond the stipulated time, use of police officers to count votes, and use of ungazetted polling stations.

“The rigging in Mandera was well planned and executed. Some results were being announced at police stations and government offices by people not authorised by the electoral commission. What was witnessed was a sham and cannot be said to represent the will of the people,” said Prof Ojienda.

Governor Roba, who defended the seat on a Jubilee Party ticket, got 72,985 votes while Mr Noor emerged second with 63,003 votes.

Ojienda submitted that prior to the election on August 8, the petitioner realised that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had deployed police officers as returning officers in several wards and constituencies. He said his client’s complaints were dismissed.

“They used the police to intimidate and send away trained returning officers. The officers then started altering forms and created fake polling stations which were not gazetted. This forced party agents to report back that no exercise was being carried out within the stations,” said Ojienda.

Polling station

The lawyer applied for an order compelling the IEBC to grant the petitioner access to the election servers, specific location of the Kenya Integrated Election Management System kits used in Mandera, allocation of the kits to each polling station, and the administrative access to the kits.

Mr Noor in his affidavit stated that he was robbed of victory by illegal collusion between the IEBC, Mr Roba, and State agents who were assigned specifically to help the governor and the Jubilee Party to win.

“I got majority of votes in many polling stations, especially in Mandera North, where my opponent comes from, but my results were swapped with impunity by the fraudulent presiding officers not gazetted to oversee the election,” said Noor.

According to the candidate, the forms 34A used to enter the results for governor were altered at the polling stations and fake ones used to tally the results at the county level.

In some instances, he said forms 34A were not signed by presiding officers while his agents were chased away from some polling stations and were unable to verify the results.

And in Lamu, the battle for the Senate seat has moved to court after Hassan Albeity who emerged second, challenged Jubilee Party’s Anwar Loitiptip’s win.

Mr Albeity of the Wiper Democratic Movement (WDM) has filed a notice of motion at the High Court challenging the election of the 28-year-old senator.

Albeity is a former Lamu county council chairman.

He alleges that Mr Loitiptip was part of the ‘computer-generated’ leaders in the General Election.

“I never lost the senatorial race to Loitiptip fairly and I have enough evidence to support my allegation that there was rigging,” he said.

Albeity came second after garnering 14,163 while Loitiptip won by getting 14,359, a difference of 196 votes.

In Ugenya, former MP David Ochieng has lodged a 538 page petition at the High Court in Siaya challenging the election of Chris Karan as his successor.

Mr Ochieng has cited alleged electoral violations among his reasons for wanting to overturn Mr Karan’s win.

Karan of ODM emerged the winner after garnering 23,765 votes against Ochieng’s 23,418 votes.

Ochieng vied for the seat on a Movement for Democracy and Growth (MDG) ticket after resigning from ODM party.

At the Kisii Chief Magistrates court, four petitions challenging the election of members of county assembly have been filed.

Independent candidate

Fred Nunda (ODM), who contested the Bogiakumu ward seat in Bonchari constituency, is challenging the election of independent candidate Ismael Matundura.

Former Masimba MCA Joash Orora (Jubilee Party), who garnered 1,418 votes, has also filed a petition challenging the election of James Anyona (ODM), who got 1,595 votes.

Paul Ayiema has challenged the election of Joseph Chweya, the Boikang’a ward MCA in South Mugirango constituency.

In Keumbu ward, a voter has challenged the election of Peter Gekanana, who got 1,389 votes, defeating his closest challenger, Stephen Orina, who got 1,386 votes.

[Paul Ogemba, Edwin Nyarangi, Olivia Odhiambo and Patrick Beja]

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