Reprieve for governors Ongwae, Nyagarama, two MPs as courts uphold their victory

Kisii Governor James Ongwae addresses supporters after the  Court of Appeal upheld his election on Thursday. [Photo:courtesy]

The Court of Appeal has upheld election of Kisii Governor James Ongwae with the judges ruling he was validly elected.

Two voters had wanted the court to overturn Ongwae’s victory on grounds that the election was marred with irregularities. Makari Onsando and Francis Mochoge, who were slapped with Sh5 million in costs, claimed High Court judge erred in law in dismissing their case.

After the court ruling governor Ongwae promised to work tirelessly to transform Kisii County as he supported the Uhuru-Raila handshake.

“I thank God for this verdict. This victory belongs to you all my supporters. I support my party leader Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga on his handshake with the President and in that spirit, I will work tirelessly to transform Kisii over the remaining four years,” governor Ongwae posted on his Facebook account.

An appelate dismissed a petition against election of Nyamira Governor John Nyangarama. While ruling the case Thursday morning, the judges said issues raised by the petitioner Walter Nyambati did not affect final results.

Elsewhere in Mombasa, the Court of Appeal has upheld election of Nyali MP Mohammed Ali. The court dismissed the petition filed by Said Abdallah of ODM for lack of merit.

While ruling the case, Justice Martha Koome said Mr. Abdalla failed to provide sufficient evidence to prove claims of voter bribery and intimidation to influence the election results. The High Court had dismissed Mr. Abdalla’s petition in February 2018 due to lack of merit.

Changamwe MP Omar Mwinyi has also survived an election petition as Court of Appeal rules irregularities did not affect election results.

Justice Alnashir Visram, Justice Wanjiru Karuiki and Justice Martha Koome found that the election of Omar Mwinyi as Changamwe MP and Mohamed Ali as Nyali MP were legal and should not be tempered with.

“We hereby find that there were no irregularities in the election of Omar Mwinyi as Changamwe MP and if there were, they were not of such magnitude to nullify the election of the MP. The margin of the results of votes   between the two candidates was very big. As such we are not going to interfere with the judgment of the trial judge,” concluded the judges.

The judges said the election of Mohamed Ali was legal and dismissed claims that the MP used Raila Odinga symbol to attract more voters.

They said the issue of symbol and party colours are issues which should be raised with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission which has a tribunal to deal with such complaints.

“We agree with the judgement of the dispute over symbol and ODM party colour the petitioner complained of should have conducted by IEBC which should have fined the MP or made other decision,” said the judges.

The Court of Appeal in Kisumu has nullified the election of Kabuchai MP James Mukwe. Nabangi Tale had appealed against a High Court ruling in Bungoma that had earlier upheld Mukwe’s win. While nullifying his win, the judges ordered IEBC to conduct a repeat poll.