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May 26, 2018

Ojaamong win upheld, judge slaps petitioner with Sh12 million costs

Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong after a court yesterday dismissed a petition challenging his victory /JANE CHEROTICH
Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong after a court yesterday dismissed a petition challenging his victory /JANE CHEROTICH

Busia High Court Judge Kiarie Waweru yesterday upheld Governor Sospeter Ojaamong’s election.

In his one-hour ruling, the judge said the governor was validly declared the winner and the petitioner failed to prove his case. 

Former Funyula MP Paul Otuoma, who lost Ojaamong in the August 8 election, conceded defeat moments after the ruling.

Addressing the press yesterday, Otuoma said he may not agree with the verdict, but respects the court.

“Most of us are exhausted after the long electioneering period. We should now start looking at our lives. To the winner, it is not about victory, but service to the people of Busia,” he said outside the court.

Petitioner Peter Odima was ordered to pay Sh12 million in costs. Odima, who was the Otuoma’s campaigner, had cited cited seven grounds in his petition.

They include malpractices during campaigns and on Election Day at Amukura tallying centre. He claimed electoral officials were intimidated.

Ojaamong welcomed the verdict, saying the petitioner had no evidence. 

Supporters sing and dance

“My immediate task is naming my cabinet  and chief officers in the next one week. My opponent should until 2022,” he said.

Ojaamong’s lawyer Otiende Amollo said it is unfortunate some allegations were made to intimidate the court.

Odima said he still believed the reasons he went to court are still valid. He said, “The elections was not free and fair.”

His lawyer  David Ochieng said, “My advice to the people of Busia is some election petitions are won and others are lost based on evidence.  We shall read  the judgment and advice our client,” he said.

Deputy Governor Moses Mulomi, Ojaamong’s wife Judy, Teso South MP Geoffrey Omuse, his Funyula counterpart Oundo Mudenyo and more than 20 MCAs were in court during the ruling.

Business came to a standstill in Busia as hundreds of Ojaamong’s supporters  took to the streets to celebrate Ojaamong’s victory. 

The governor’s convoy snaked through the town as jubilant supporters sang and danced. Ojaamong addressed residents at the taxi park.

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