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February 17, 2019

Court to decide Governor Awiti’s poll petition today

Homa Bay governor Cyprian Awiti /file
Homa Bay governor Cyprian Awiti /file

Homa Bay governor Cyprian Awiti is to know his future today as the appeal court rules in a petition he filed to have the annulment of his victory overturned.

Former Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga won a petition at the High Court against Awiti’s win. Magwanga had emerged second during last year’s election.

Judge Joseph Karanja said the IEBC had failed to ensure a free and fair election. During the appeal hearing, IEBC lawyers faulted the decision.

“He approved the outcomes of a scrutiny exercise presided over by the court’s deputy registrar, who revealed that the outcome had no discrepancies in more than 95 per cent of ballot papers,” lawyer Fred Orego said.

He told the court in Kisumu that the ruling had no basis. Orego said Awiti was the rightful governor. He said the judge was wrong to nullify the poll just because the boxes scrutinised had no IEBC seals.

“The IEBC does not have prescribed seals. All the seals on the boxes were from the poll agency,” he said.

Awiti’s lawyers Tom Ojienda, James Orengo and Otiende Amollo said Justice Karanja used a document produced by Magwanga’s lawyers to make his judgment.

Magwanga’s lawyer Charles Kanjama dismissed the claim. He said the document was only a summary of the scrutiny and was never used.

“The evidence from the scrutiny, which showed no major discrepancies, could not be trusted. Only 90 boxes were examined, despite the court directing that 400 of them be scrutinised,” he said.

He said it was likely Awiti had accessed the ballot boxes two months before the verification and altered ballot papers in his favour.

“Most of the official forms within the ballot boxes were blank and the IEBC never presented original forms. All the forms with my client’s results were original. The IEBC hid the petitioner’s original forms and only produced photocopies — a clear sign Magwanga trounced Awiti,” Kanjama said.

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