IEBC clears Wetang'ula of voter bribery claims, cites lack of evidence

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Cord's Raila Odinga and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula at Kanduyi stadium in Bungoma Township during the Senator's thanksgiving ceremony following his re-election. Photo/DENNIS KAVISU
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Cord's Raila Odinga and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula at Kanduyi stadium in Bungoma Township during the Senator's thanksgiving ceremony following his re-election. Photo/DENNIS KAVISU

Moses Wetang'ula's name will not be struck off the voters' register over bribery allegations, the IEBC has said.

The Bungoma Senator was accused of committing the offence in the run-up to the March 4, 2013 general election.

"The IEBC found no proof and justification to delete Wetangula's name from the voters register," Commissioner Mohammed Alawi said on Tuesday.

He said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission only considered Wetang'ula's submission as no office presented its own.

Alawi added that there was not sufficient evidence suggesting the Senator's guilt as he was not convicted of the offence.

In a hearing on January 12, lawyer James Orengo had said Wetang'ula could not be deregistered for an electoral offence.

"The Supreme Court did not find any criminality in my client. He has not been convicted of an election offence hence he cannot be barred," Orengo had said.

"You can commit an offence but not be convicted of that offence," he further said, noting a person is disqualified from being elected if he is of unsound mind.

Speaking after the determination at the Milimani law courts on Tuesday, Wetang'ula thanked Kenyans for their support since the matter was raised.

"Lightning does not strike a tree twice. I sincerely thank Kenyans, Cord co-principals and Cord supporters who took time to come and be with me," he said.

Orengo said Cord is "happier because justice has been served".

On March 17, the Supreme Court upheld the decisions of the High Court in Bungoma and Appeals Court in Kisumu that found Wetang’ula guilty of voter bribery.

Though the High Court wanted Wetang’ula barred from subsequent elections, the Appeals Court allowed him to contest the by-election, pending the determination of the appeal he had lodged against the election offences ruling.

The Senator risked being barred from elections for as many as 10 years.