Judge orders vote recount in Kidero-Wanga election dispute

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022 00:05 | By
Homa Bay Governor Glady Wanga and Evans Kidero. PHOTO/Courtesy
A collage of Homa Bay Governor Glady Wanga and Evans Kidero. PHOTO/Courtesy

The High Court yesterday ordered the scrutiny and recount of votes in seven constituencies in Homa Bay county in an election dispute lodged by former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero.

Kidero seeks to have Governor Gladys Wanga’s election nullified on claims that the election was marred by massive irregularities, voter bribery, swapping of results, voter suppression and voter manipulation that compromised its integrity.

Justice Roselyne Aburili ordered for the recount of votes in 327 polling stations in seven constituencies. The order followed a request by Kidero and Elijah Odondi, his running-mate in the August 9 election.

The judge found that Kidero and Odondi had proved a strong case to warrant the recount of votes and scrutiny of election forms 37A, 37B and 37C in the seven constituencies he had cited electoral malpractices.

“I find that the petitioners (Kidero and his running Elijah Odondi) have laid a prima facie and sufficient basis to warrant scrutiny and recount. I find that the petitioners have laid a sound basis to the effect that Forms 37A, Forms 37B and Form 37C should be scrutinised. Likewise, the scrutiny and verification of the KIEMS kits data used in the August 9, 2022 Gubernatorial election in Homa Bay County,” ordered Justice Aburili.

IEBC officials

The recount will be carried out in Kasipul, Rangwe, Suba South, Kabondo Kasipul, Ndhiwa, Suba North and Homa Bay Town constituencies.

The judge ordered the recounting exercise to be carried out under direct supervision of the Deputy Registrar of Homa Bay High Court in the presence of each of the parties’ four agents led by IEBC officials.

“A report thereto shall be filed by the Deputy Registrar as soon as possible and parties shall be allowed to submit on the same findings during the hearing of the main petition,” Justice Aburili ordered.

In the petition, Kidero alleges that the governor election in the county was unfair and that there were electoral malpractices.

He says the malpractices were made possible by outright violence, which in some instances was presided over by security officers and provincial administrators.

“The petitioner submits that the flaws and irregularities that characterised the gubernatorial elections; which we particularise hereunder, unlawfully subverted the sovereign will of the Homa Bay county electorate,” the petition reads.

The former Nairobi Governor claims his competitor was the beneficiary of the violence and voter bribery that were allegedly masterminded and executed by ODM’s “men in black”.

Kidero alleges that the “organized criminal gang known as the “Men-In-Black” was deployed by the Orange Democratic Movement party to cause violence and terrorise the candidates vying as independents or sponsored by other parties.

He claims that reporting the violence to the police bore no fruits and that members of the gang were known across the county.

His agents, he says, made reports to the police, and will adduce specific OB numbers in court during hearing of the petition.

Mete violence

However, there has been no progress in the investigations, says Kidero.

“It is our position that by virtue of this violence, which is actually an electoral offence, the elections for Governor of Homa Bay county as conducted by the IEBC did not meet the basic threshold under Article 81 (e)(ii) of the Constitution of Kenya 2010. The elections cannot by any means be termed to have been a free and fair,” he states.

Wanga was declared the winner with 244,559 votes against Kidero’s 154,182.

They state that the violence led to voter suppression and allowed time for the “goons” to mete violence on certain officials of IEBC.

“The petitioners aver that where he got the majority of votes his results were swapped with impunity by the fraudulent presiding officers and/or deputy presiding officers,” he said.

“Some of the swappings were done with impunity and are discernible from the face of the different Forms 37A,” the petition reads.

Kidero cites Ringa Primary School and Ongeti Primary School polling stations. He says voter bribery was experienced at Kisui Primary School, Nyakango Primary School, Bolo polling station, Ragogo Primary School, Kogonda, Osuri Primary School, Omiro Polytechnic, Umai Primary School and Kojwach Primary School.

Kidero adds that results declaration forms were altered in various stations.

The hearing of the petition resumes tomorrow.

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