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Eyes on top court as governors, MPs await verdict in poll cases



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The political careers of eight governors, a senator and 16 MPs are hanging by a thread as the Supreme Court finalises petitions challenging their election and delivers its verdict starting next week.
Among the leaders waiting for the judgments are Wajir Governor Mohamed Mohamud, his Homa Bay counterpart Cyprian Awiti, Nyamira’s John Nyagarama, Alfred Mutua (Machakos), Fahim Twaha (Lamu), Ndiritu Muriithi (Laikipia) and Martin Wambora (Embu).

Others are Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya, Lamu Senator Anwar Loitiptip, MPs Babu Owino (Embakasi East), Julius Mawathe (Embakasi South), Changamwe’s Omar Mwinyi, Justus Kizito (Shinyalu), James Lusweti (Kabuchai), Kangogo Bowen (Marakwet East) and Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter.

The Wajir governor lost the seat when the High Court nullified his election because of irregularities and claims that he does not possess a university degree. He later tabled evidence showing that he was a graduate of Kampala University, claims disputed by his rivals — former Governor Ahmed Mohamed and Mr Ahmed Abdi, who also contested the election.

Mr Awiti, whose election was nullified by the High Court and the decision upheld by the Court of Appeal, rushed to the Supreme Court arguing that the two lower courts ignored scrutiny and recount of votes, which still put him ahead of his rival Oyugi Magwanga.
Mr Magwanga said the scrutiny could not be relied upon because there were efforts to suppress the will of the voters.

In Machakos, Dr Mutua maintained that he won fairly although his rival Wavinya Ndeti said no one knows the true results of the election.
In the Lamu case, former governor Issa Timamy asked the Supreme Court to nullify the election of Mr Twaha, arguing there were irregularities unearthed by the partial scrutiny of election results forms. Mr Twaha said the claims were not substantiated.

In Mr Mvurya’s case, three Kwale voters seek to revive the case, questioning how it was withdrawn from the Court of Appeal.
The electoral agency, which opposed the case, said the petition raised nothing that required constitutional interpretation.

In the Laikipia case, both the High Court and the Court of Appeal had ruled that Governor Muriithi was validly elected. The appellate court said the appeal by Mr Sammy Waity lacked merit and there was nothing to make it overturn the decision of the High Court.

Also pending before the Supreme Court is a petition challenging the election of Mr Mawathe, who has said the Court of Appeal was unfair to him because it relied on an affidavit of the returning officer yet he did not testify. His challenger Irshadali Sumra said the electoral agency was given time to call the returning officer but failed to do so.

The Supreme Court was also urged to nullify the election of Shinyalu MP Kizito because of difference in his names. Former MP Silverse Anami said whereas ODM issued a nomination certificate to Mr Justus Kizito Mugali, the name that appeared on the ballot papers was Mr Justus Gesito Mugali M’Mbaya.