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September 25, 2017

Wa Iria, Jamleck to face off in fresh Murang'a Governor polls within 96 hours

Governor Mwangi wa Iria and Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau during the Jubilee party interim officials' elections at Murang'a Teachers' College, December 14, 2016. /FILE
Governor Mwangi wa Iria and Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau during the Jubilee party interim officials' elections at Murang'a Teachers' College, December 14, 2016. /FILE

Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria will for the second time face off his political nemesis Jamleck Kamau for the Jubilee Party ticket.

This followed a decision by the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal annulling his nomination as declared after the April 26 polls.

In a judgment on Friday, the tribunal chaired by Kyalo Mbobu held that the Jubilee Party failed to conduct a free and fair nomination in the county.

"The certificate issued to Wa Iria was null and void. The tribunal consequently orders the party to organise and conduct fresh primaries within 96 hours."

The three-member panel further observed that over 53, 614 votes were cast in excess of the number of registered voters.

An earlier directive requiring the party to repeat the exercise within 48 hours was overturned.

This was after the party said the time was limited since it fell on a weekend.

The tribunal said the Jubilee Party appeal board that declared Wai Iria as the duly elected nominee did not accord Kamau a fair hearing.

"The party’s internal mechanism gave the applicants a fair hearing," Mbobu said.

The suit had been filed by Kamau, Maina Gatundu, Francis Muthee, Paul Kuria and Felista Murigi citing massive irregularities.

Wa Iria, in the nominations, garnered 205,976 votes against Kamau’s 118,274.

Kamau had told the tribunal that presiding officers did nothing about the malpractices in the county.

Read: MP Jamleck rejects Wa Iria win in Murang'a Jubilee primaries

He also alleged that there were widespread ballot stuffing and voter bribery.

His contention was that Jubilee did not use the correct register adding that many people voted twice.

Following the judgement, Wa Iria orally asked the tribunal to suspend its decision to allow him to pursue an appeal at the High court.

But his request was rejected on grounds that the prevailing poll timelines may not allow the same.

"We have expressed ourselves in this matter. It is impossible to entertain such an application."

"The prudent thing to do is for the respondents to speedily process the proceedings and file an appeal before the High court by tomorrow," Mbobu said.

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