ODM candidate files petition to challenge loss in Matungu

ODM Matungu by-election candidate David Were. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party has made good its threat to file a petition challenging the victory of Amani National Congress's Peter Nabulindo in the recent Matungu parliamentary by-election.

ODM candidate David Were moved to the High Court in Kakamega on Thursday afternoon seeking to reverse Mr Nabulindo's election.

Mr Were, who lost by more than 4,000 votes, argued that voting was marred by corruption and illegal practices.

“I pray that it will be declared that Nabulindo was not validly elected as MP. That the non-compliance, irregularities and improprieties in the by-election were substantial and significant to affect the results thereof,” he said.

In the petition, Were wants Nabulindo, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and Matungu Returning Officer, John Kiplagat to be held jointly accountable for 'irregularities'.

Through his lawyers, former National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende and Dr Ken Nyaundi, Were also wants the court to order Nabulindo, the IEBC and Mr Kiplagat to meet the costs of the petition.

"I urge the court to grant other orders that seem just and fit pertaining to this case," said the former three-term MP for Matungu in his court papers.

The IEBC declared Nabulindo the winner of the March 4 parliamentary mini-poll after he garnered 14,679 votes against Were's 10,500 votes following tallying in all the 116 polling stations.

United Democratic Alliance candidate Alex Lanya emerged third with 4,813 votes; independent candidate Bernard Wakoli was fourth with 1,304 while Christabel Jane Murunga emerged fifth with 365 votes.

The High Court will on Tuesday give directions on whether the petition, which was filed under a certificate of urgency, meets the threshold to challenge the vote.