Two Appeal court judges quit Karua poll case, cite close ties
Two appellate judges on Tuesday withdrew from an election petition filed by Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua against Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru.
Justice Fatuma Sichale and Sankale ole Kantai recused themselves from the case saying they have close ties with Karua.
They also said they are long time friends with the NARC Kenya Party leader.
Karua wants the Appellate court to overturn a High court ruling that upheld Waiguru’s win.
Justice Sichale told the presiding judge William Ouko that she has long-standing friendship with Karua since their stint at the Federation of Women Lawyers – FIDA.
Justice Kantai said his ties with the petitioner date back to when she was still a practicing advocate and when she became the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister in the grand-coalition government.
The judges informed the court of their decision to withdraw when the appeal came up for directions on the hearing.
They said their involvement in the case would elicit perceptions of bias.
Karua moved to the Appellate court after the High Court in Kerugoya upheld Waiguru’s win on June 14 for lack of merit.
This was the second time the court dismissed the petition following a similar decision on November 15, 2017.
During the November ruling, Justice Lucy Gitari said Karua’s petition was “fatally defective, hopeless and incurable”.
She said Karua omitted mandatory information in her petition on the disputed election results and the dates they were declared by IEBC.
“Allowing the petition with omissions of mandatory information is violating the respondent’s rights to fair trial. The respondent should not be allowed to wander in a tiring journey without details of what is in dispute,” justice Gitari said.
In the June 14 ruling, the judge said Waiguru’s August 8, 2017 election was free and fair.
Karua cited bribery of voters, tampering of ballot papers and the barring of her agents into various polling stations as the grounds for the petition.
The former Minister also claimed Waiguru’s votes were inflated by over 48,000 votes.
“The results declared by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) reflect the sovereign will of Kirinyaga people,” judge Gitari ruled.
She said Karua failed to prove how the polls were marred with illegalities and irregularities.
She then slapped Karua with a Sh5 million cost – Sh3 million payable to the IEBC and Sh2 million to Waiguru.