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February 26, 2018

Linturi opposes Imanyara’s bid to withdraw election petition

Meru Senator Mithika Lithuri, politician Mugambi Imanyara and Buuri MP Mugambi Rindikiri outside the High Court in Meru yesterday / DENNIS DIBONDO
Meru Senator Mithika Lithuri, politician Mugambi Imanyara and Buuri MP Mugambi Rindikiri outside the High Court in Meru yesterday / DENNIS DIBONDO

Meru Senator Mithika Linturi yesterday opposed an application filed by politicianMugambi Imanyara seeking to withdraw an election petition.

Imanyara had challenged the victory of Linturi. Mugambi filed an application to withdraw the case against Linturi on February 5 before Justice Ann Ong’injo. But yesterday, Linturi said he opposed the withdrawal as he was validly elected.

He also said Mugambi has been appointed the chairman of the National Standards Council. “I want to be cleared of allegations that I stole the election and that I’m not qualified,” Linturi said. He said he was elected senator after serving the people of Igembe South constituency for 10 years.

Linturi said Mugambi cannot run away from a matter of public interest.Linturi’s lawyer Tom Ojienda asked the judge to strike out the withdrawal application, saying it violates public policy and the principles that govern prosecution of election petitions.

“Linturi has spent his youthful life in politics and the only respect he has acquired is endorsement by the people through various elections. This petition was brought by the petitioner on several claims,” Ojienda said.

“The main claim being he conspired with the IEBC to rig the election. If this petition is withdrawn, that tag of having stolen elections will remain with the respondent for the rest of his five-year term.” Ojienda said Mugambi’s appointment to the National Standards Council cannot stop him from proceeding with the petition.

Mugambi’s lawyer Ochieng Oduor said Mugambi did not file the case so as to receive a state appointment.

“A state appointment is something one does not foresee. The allegation that the petition was filed to blackmail President Uhuru Kenyatta is reckless and irresponsible,” Oduor said. Justice Ong’injo set the ruling on the application of the withdrawal for February 20.

Last month the High Court in Meru ordered scrutiny and recount of senator votes in seven polling stations in Meru county.


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