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October 19, 2018

Sonko setback as judge declines to dismiss petition

Lawyers Cecil Miller, Karen Muthee and 	 Harrison Kinyanjui in a Milimani law court yesterday / COLLINS KWEYU
Lawyers Cecil Miller, Karen Muthee and Harrison Kinyanjui in a Milimani law court yesterday / COLLINS KWEYU

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko yesterday suffered a blow after the High Court declined to dismiss a petition challenging his election.

Sonko had asked Justice Msagha Mbogholi to strike out the case and order the petitioners to pay him Sh30 million as cost of the suit.

Sonko had faulted petitioners, Japheth Muroko and Zacheus Okoth, of failing to list his Deputy Polycarp Igathe as a respondent in the case. Sonko said the failure to list Igathe left means the petition was defective.

Mbogholi dismissed Sonko's arguments and directed the petition to proceed to a full hearing.

“I am inclined to agree with the findings of non-inclusion of a deputy governor in a petition,” Mbogholi said.

He said the petitioners' failure to join Igathe in the case was not enough reason to invalidate the petition.

Mbogholi also dismissed Sonko's argument that Igathe's right to a fair hearing would be infringed on.

“How can it be said he has been denied a fair trial while he has not attempted to join the petition,” Mbogholi said.

The judge also said would become a collateral damage in case of a nullification of the election. He said Sonko was the right respondent, because he was the one directly elected by voters.

Mbogholi said only the IEBC and returning officers were mandatory respondents in election petitions.

Sonko had also complained that Okoth was not a proper petitioner because he did not provide all the necessary information required.

He had asked the court to strike out Okoth's name from the petition.

Mbogholi rejected the application.

The case will be heard from January 8-12 without interruptions.

Sonko was declared winner of the  ODM's Evans Kidero whose bid to join the case claiming he had a stake in the outcome was rejected by the judge last month.

The judge said Kidero did not give satisfying reasons why he, independently, chose not to file a petition to challenge Sonko’s win.

Kidero wanted to participate in the case as an interested party claiming he had overwhelming evidence that would help court reach to a conclusion that the governor was not validly elected.

But Sonko told court that the former Governor was trying to challenge his well-deserved win through the backdoor.

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