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January 16, 2019

Coast poll losers blast judiciary for dismissing petitions at initial stages

Amina Abdhalla, Esther Kache and former Ganze MP Peter Shehe during a press conference in Mombasa on Tuesday. Photo/JOHN CHESOLI
Amina Abdhalla, Esther Kache and former Ganze MP Peter Shehe during a press conference in Mombasa on Tuesday. Photo/JOHN CHESOLI

Coast politicians who lost during the August 8 general election are crying foul over the several verdicts made by the judiciary.

The politicians, led by former Ganze MP Peter Shehe, on Tuesday, blasted the judiciary of dismissing the cases at the initial stages and imposing hefty fines on the plaintiffs.

“We are very pained. We had concrete evidence against those who were declared winners, but the judges did not give us an opportunity to be heard,” Shehe said.

Majority of the petition cases were thrown out on technicality and not on the evidence presented before the court, lawyers Yusuf Abubakar and Jack Mwaniki said.

Abubakar and Mwaniki were lawyers of several petitioners in Malindi and Mombasa High Courts.

Shehe said there are possibilities that the judiciary could have been compromised because out of the 14 petitions filed at the Malindi High Court, only two went into full trial.

A former legislator's case against Ganze MP Teddy Mwabire was thrown out by Malindi High Court Judge Patrick Otieno on basis that it was defective and does not require further scrutiny on whether to be supported by evidence.

He said he had to appeal and luckily his appeal has gone through and they are waiting for the matter to start again, but several other politicians whose cases were thrown out could not afford to pursue justice.

“It has become a very expensive affair. Before you file a petition at the High Court, you are asked to deposit Sh500,000. However, your case is dismissed just even before it starts and when you want to appeal, you are asked to pay another Sh500,000. Where do they think the poor individual can get that money from, not forgetting we have invested millions during the campaign,” said Shehe.

Read; [VIDEO] Election of Senator Lotiptip upheld by Mombasa High Court judge

Shehe’s case was dismissed with costs. The petitioner was asked to pay a total of Sh2.5 million to IEBC and the defendant, who is the current MP Mwambire.

Amina Abdhalla, who vied for Mombasa Women representative, said justice has become so expensive to pursue and challenge President Uhuru Kenyatta the Jubilee legislators to come up with laws that will not be barriers for those who are in pursuit of justice.

“We are charged hefty fines for just trying to pursue justice. We want that law changed and President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto should intervene,” she said.

They spoke during a press conference in Mombasa.

Abubakar, who is representing Shehe in the petition case, said the constitution is very clear on access to justice, but the High Court Judges chose not to follow the law.

“The High Court judges should look at Constitution of Kenya Article 159 (2d), which says justice shall be administered without undue regard to procedural technicalities. We want cases to be heard on the evidence presented before the court and not dismissed on technicalities,” he said.

He added that Article 48 of the Kenya Constitution says “The State shall ensure access to justice for all persons and, if any fee is required, it shall be reasonable and shall not impede access to justice.”

“However, we are seeing so many barriers to justice when people are asked to pay Sh500,000 when filling petition and when the matters is dismissed, you have to pay hefty fines and when you want to appeal you are asked to pay another Sh500,000,” said Abubakar.

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