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January 22, 2019

Obado stays on as governor after court throws out Ayacko’s appeal

Migori Governor Zachary Okoth Obado addresses the press after Kisumu court of appeal upheld his election/MAURICE ALAL
Migori Governor Zachary Okoth Obado addresses the press after Kisumu court of appeal upheld his election/MAURICE ALAL

The Court of Appeal in Kisumu on Friday upheld the election of Migori Governor Okoth Obado.

Ochillo Ayacko had filed an appealing challenging the High Court decision to dismiss his petition, but the appellate court threw it out.

“The appellant failed to produce sufficient evidence to support his claims of voter bribery, ballot staffing and unrealistic voter turnout,” Justice Stephen Gatembu said.

The ruling went ahead despite Ayacko announcing last Wednesday he had withdrawn the lawsuit after shaking hands with Obado.

Raila encouraged the two to shake hands during the burial of Senator Ben Okello on July 9. Obado then asked Raila to convince Ayacko to drop the petition.

Afterwards Ayacko announced, "I have withdrawn the case since I can never go against Odinga’s direction. I am now in the race for Migori senator seat."

Gatembu ruled that the court is satisfied that the trial judge did not misdirect himself on reaching the decision to quash the petition challenging Obado's victory.

He ordered Ayacko to pay Sh4.5 million down from Sh6 million as cost of the suit.

Ayacko, through lawyer Nyamori Nyasyimi, told the court the August 8 General Election was marred by irregularities by the IEBC and voter bribery.

The former minister said there was multiple voting, non-identification of voters, and misuse of public resources, among others.

The High Court in Migori dismissed his petition on grounds that it lacked merit. Judge Hillary Chemitei ruled that Ayacko’s witnesses failed to prove the allegations raised in court.

He said the petitioner raised many allegations but there was no truth in them. The Judge directed Ayacko to pay Sh6 million.

Speaking after the ruling, Obado said he can now serve the people of Migori in peace. “This victory belongs to you and I am free to serve you. The court has validated our win,” he said.

Ayacko is eyeing the Migori senator seat left vacant following the death of Ben Okello. He was allegedly picked by Migori delegates to be the party flagbearer in the October 8 by-election.

But ODM National Elections Board chairperson Judy Pareno said the party had nothing to do with purported electoral vote in which Ayacko won by 44 out of 77 votes.

He recently turned down an ambassadorial appointment by President Uhuru Kenyatta. He recently declined President Uhuru Kenyatta's bid to appoint him as an ambassador. Ayacko said he wants to serve Migori residents as a senator.

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