Saturday, April 20, 2024

Babu Owino petition: Court orders vote recount in Embakasi East

The High court in Nairobi has ordered for a scrutiny and recount of votes cast in Embakasi East constituency on August 8 last year.

Justice Joseph Sergon made the order following a petition filed by Francis Mureithi challenging the election of Paul Ongili alias Babu Owino as MP.

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Sergon said that he was satisfied that Mureithi had given sufficient reasons to warrant a recount.

While making his findings, the judge pointed out that the Embakasi East returning officer Nicholas Butuk had admitted in Court that the results he announced did not tally with the ones in the Form 35A and that were many errors in the forms.

Mureithi, represented by lawyer Ham Lagat and Kiragu Kimani, had filed an application for scrutiny and recount of votes cast during last year’s election.

He said the forms were not legible making it difficult to determine whether the results in Forms 35A corresponded with those in Form 35B.

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The petitioner said the verification is important as there were errors in Form 35B.

Further, the lawyer told Justice Sergon that the MP admitted in court that he voted in a polling station where he was not registered as a voter.

Lagat said the only way to determine the accurate election results is a recount of votes.

He also told the judge that there were instances where votes were increased in favour of Owino, and deflation of his client’s votes.

Lagat added that the Forms 35A did not have the official IEBC stamp, while others do not bear signatures of the presiding officer.

The lawyer said the results recorded and transmitted from polling stations to the constituency tallying centre at East Africa School of Aviation were inaccurate.

He said there was evidence of manipulation of the results in a number of polling stations and votes were inflated in favour of Owino.

He cited cases in Embakasi Social Hall, Embakasi Social Hall, Embakasi Primary School, Edelvale Primary School, Edelvale Primary School, and Soweto Social Hall.

In reply, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission admitted that there were errors in a number of forms, but said the errors could not be the basis for scrutiny.

Joseph Mele Eroo, the Nairobi county election manager, said that lack of stamps in some of the statutory forms was not a basis for scrutiny in an election petition.

Owino, through lawyer Jackson Awele, said the lack of stamps in 44 random polling stations should not be the basis for a recount.

He added that the petitioner cannot claim the poll was marred with irregularities without pointing at specific areas.

The matter will be heard on February 26 for final submissions.

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