Khaemba challenges Didmus Barasa's MP win, lays murder, intimidation at his feet

The election of Didmus Barasa as Kimilili MP is among the first to be challenged, with a petitioner averring it was marred by irregularities, including violence that led to the death of a young man.

Lawyer Bryan Khaemba, whose aide was killed on election day, filed the petition at the High Court in Bungoma on Wednesday, praying that Barasa's win is nullified to pave the way for a by-election.

The Democratic Action Party-Kenya (DAP-K) politician has enjoined the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and its Kimilili returning officer George Omondi, stating other election malpractices that affected the outcome of the election in the constituency.

"I impugn the election for Member of Parliament for Kimilili constituency purely on the misconduct of Barasa and I do not by any way challenge the conduct of IEBC and Mr Omondi," he says in his affidavit.

Khaemba claims Barasa flouted Section 6 of the Electoral Code of Conduct, which among other things, requires candidates in an election to refrain from violence and intimidation of opponents.

"As I was leaving Chebukwabi Primary School polling station, Barasa, without any form of provocation, followed me to my vehicle and ordered the people that he was with to block my vehicle from leaving. He himself stood in front of the vehicle trying to stop me from leaving," alleges Khaemba.

"He then walked towards the driver's side and tried to forcefully snatch the ignition key of the vehicle but the driver, Joshua Wanjala Nasokho blocked him. He then went towards the co-driver's side, drew his pistol and shot my aide, Brian Odinga Olunga, 21, on the forehead which subsequently led to his death."

He holds that Barasa fired yet another bullet but it did not hit anyone since the vehicle was in motion.

Khaemba, a former Chief Magistrate at Kiambu court station, said the shooting was reported to Kimilili Police Station and upon investigations, Barasa was charged with murder.

In his court papers, he also states that the presiding officer at Chebukwabi Youth Polytechnic Polling Station raised the red flag over threats he received during the counting of votes.

According to Khaemba, Barasa was being driven in a government vehicle which was bought using National Government Constituency Development Fund money but which was branded in United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party colours and his portraits and which he used to campaign for the MP seat.

"To hide its identity during his campaigns, Barasa changed its number plates. The use of the vehicle, being a public resource, by Barasa amounted to improper influence contrary to Section 14 of the Election Offences Act, 2016," he said.

The UDA MP was announced winner of the polls after garnering 26,861 votes against Khaemba's 9,497.

When he appeared in court on August 24, Barasa pleaded not guilty to the murder charge. He was released on Sh10 million bail by Kakamega High Court Judge Patrick Otieno with strict terms. They include keeping off Bungoma County so as not to interfere with witnesses until the case is determined.

He is also not supposed to interact with more than five people in Kimilili constituency at any time and is further restricted from making comments surrounding the case at funerals and other public gatherings.

On August 25, the MP picked his certificate from IEBC offices in Kimilili town as well as personal belongings from the constituency under the watch of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officers as directed by Justice Otieno.

He is only allowed to access Bungoma county with the court's permission.