Day of the rebels as MP Bowen wins case

Marakwet East MP Kangogo Bowen (left) celebrates his win in Eldoret yesterday.[Peter Odhiambo, Standard]

Marakwet East MP Kangogo Bowen retained his seat yesterday after the Court of Appeal in Eldoret overturned an earlier decision nullifying his election victory.

Justices Erastus Githinji, Hannah Okwengu and Jamila Mohammed ruled that the petitioners had failed to give enough evidence to prove their claims that the August 8 poll was flawed.

The judges agreed with the lawmaker's contention that the judge erred both in fact and law in nullifying his election and concluded that the irregularities claimed did not affect the votes.

"The respondent (Sammy Kemboi) could not prove that the election was marred with irregularities. The judgement of the election court cannot stand and therefore this appeal is allowed," the court ruled.

Mr Bowen's election was nullified by Justice George Kimondo at the High Court in Eldoret on grounds that there were massive irregularities and breach of electoral laws.

“I'm grateful to everyone who stood by me. The case affected development in the constituency but it is now time for work,” said Bowen after the judgement.

The court also overturned the nullification of the election of Turkana Woman Rep Joyce Emanikor and upheld the victory of Turkana East MP Ali Lokiru. 

Former Turkana East MP Nicholas Ng’ikor had challenged the election of Mr Lokiru at the High court, saying the election was marred with irregularities. But the court dismissed the petition, prompting the petitioner to appeal. 

The petitioner's lawyer, Katwa Kigen, cited failure to use KIEMS kits and bias as the main reasons why the elections should be overturned.

“There was failure to use KIEMS kit without reason, biased IEBC staff, discrimination in communication and dissemination of information to candidates, selective training of agents and delayed accreditation of my client’s agents,” Mr Kigen told the court.

He also stated that in some instances the elections were conducted away from gazetted locations, adding that the polls did not meet the requisite qualitative test.

In his defence, the Turkana East legislator urged the courts to dismiss the petition, claiming no sound grounds were provided to warrant the nullification of his victory.

The MP, through lawyer Philip Nyachoti, told the court that the claims of the appellant, Nixon Ngikor, were not supported by the established facts or evidence on record.

“Mr Ngikor is making attempts through this Appeal Court to resuscitate an incompetent petition,” said lawyer Nyachoti.

The ruling in Bowen's case came just a day after his Nandi Hills colleague, Alfred Keter, triumphed. This completed the comeback of the two perceived Jubilee rebels in Rift Valley.

For the two, their victories were particularly important, given that they fallen out with the leadership of the ruling Jubilee Party, on whose ticket they were elected.

In January, Jubilee cracked the whip on Bowen and Keter, who were among four MPs who had defied the party on the sharing of top parliamentary committee posts.

Following instructions from President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto, Jubilee MPs voted to kick out Keter, Bowen, Silas Tiren (Moiben) and James Gakuya (Embakasi North) from leadership of House committees.

Keter had been elected Labour Committee chairman and Kangogo vice chair of the Environment, Water and Mineral Resources Committee, against their party’s wishes prompting the backlash from the party leaders.  

On Wednesday, after the Court of Appeal reversed a High Court decision nullifying his election, Keter blamed his woes on people he claimed wanted him out of Parliament for political reasons. He did not name his alleged detractors.

“My only problem is saying the truth. I did not do anything wrong. There are people who wanted me out of Parliament because they knew their corruption schemes were doomed. They wanted to instill fear in the voters,” claimed the MP.