Marjan sucked into Wajir poll dispute

Tuesday, November 15th, 2022 00:01 | By
IEBC CEO Marjan Hussein Marjan
IEBC CEO Marjan Hussein Marjan. PHOTO/Courtesy.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chief executive Marjan Hussein was yesterday mentioned in the petition challenging the election of Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi.

This is after the petitioner accused him of compromising a key witness in the petition by offering him a job at the commission.

Lawyer Issa Mansur, who is representing the petitioner Hassan Adan Mohammed, told Justice George Nduru that Marjan was plotting to defeat justice by influencing witnesses.

Mansur said one of his key witnesses, Abdullahi Muhamed, had developed cold feet and had declined to appear before the court to give an account of alleged malpractices in the election.

The court heard that Abdullahi was an agent for the petitioner during the election and had filed a damning witness affidavit in the petition.

“IEBC CEO purported to offer this witness (Abdullahi) a job for six months from November 1, 2022 to May 31, 2023 as a Director of Audit and Compliance. That offer was calculated in order the witness does not testify before you,” Mansur told the judge.

He said he will file a formal application detailing the issue.

But IEBC, through lawyer Mohat Somane, denied the allegations saying the commission only offers jobs it has advertised and that the claim by the petitioner was not true.

Formal application

Somane asked the petitioner to file a formal application over his allegations so that Marjan and IEBC can respond appropriately.

“The commission in this matter is ready to comply with all regulations and statutory laws. We are confident of what the commission did during the 2022 gubernatorial elections,” Somane said.

“The court should not make any negative or positive inference following the allegations made until the petitioner files a formal application,” he added.

Justice Nduru ordered the petitioner to file a formal application about the allegations.

“On the issue raised by Mansur on the employment of one of his client’s intended witnesses by IEBC, if he wants to pursue that issue he should file a formal application and serve,” Justice Nduru said.

The judge also declined to block Mansur from representing the petitioner in the dispute for alleged conflict of interest. This was after IEBC and Governor Abdullahi applied to have Mansur stopped from representing Hassan on allegations that he had previously represented the commission in other matters.

Somane said Mansur represented majority commissioners who dissented in the announcement of the presidential election results.

“Mansur was an advocate acting for the majority of the commissioners in the presidential petition at the Supreme Court. For good order and to avoid conflict of interest Mansur should stop representing the petitioner in this matter. There are so many lawyers in the country the petitioner can hire,” Somane said.

The revelations came to the fore during the hearing of the petition challenging Abdullahi’s election.

In the case, the first witness Ibrahim Mohamud Abdurahaman who was a Senate candidate on Kanu ticket in the county took the witness stand and narrated how the electoral commission failed to use Kiems Kits in Abdullahi’s strongholds.

Marked ballots

“In the morning the Kiems kit were okay, but later the kits were not being used especially in the constituency that is believed to be the stronghold for the elected governor,” the witness told the court.

Another witness claimed there were marked ballot papers in favour of Abdullahi.

He told the court that some ballot papers were marked at the governor’s compound and the matter was reported to the police.

“People were given double marked ballot papers for the position of the Governor and Wajir Central constituency. Police officers in some wards failed to provide security, this led to low voter turnout in many parts of the region,” the witness told the court.

Abdullahi was declared the winner with 35,533 against Hassan’s 27,224.

The petitioner alleges the election did not meet the constitutional threshold as it was marred by irregularities and violence.

He says violence in Wajir East on the eve of the elections was orchestrated to suppress the voter turnout.

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