Nanok reaches out to Munyes as judge dismisses petition

Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok addresses his supporters outside the Lodwar Law Courts after his election was validated by Judge Stephen Riech, on February 28, 2018. PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Justice Riech upheld arguments by lawyer Philip Nyachoti that Mr Munyes had not provided sufficient evidence to warrant nullification of Mr Nanok’s win.

The battle for the leadership of Turkana County between Governor Josphat Nanok and his long-time rival, Petroleum and Mining Cabinet Secretary John Munyes, seems to have ended.

On Tuesday, the High Court in Lodwar dismissed an election petition lodged by Mr Munyes.

Mr Munyes, the former Turkana Senator, did not immediately indicate if he would file an appeal after Judge Stephen Riech threw out his petition, saying he did not present sufficient evidence to back his case.

The focus now shifts to the battle over oil revenue as the two leaders look to see how their community should benefit from the resource.

The two have in the past read from the same script on the percentage of the share the local community should get once the oil is exported.

READ: Petroleum Bill at centre of Turkana politics

Both have been pushing for more than the five per cent the national government is proposing in the new Petroleum Bill presently before the National Assembly.

When he was being vetted by the National Assembly’s Appointments Committee chaired by Speaker Justin Muturi, Mr Munyes agreed that he had been at loggerheads with the proponents of the five per cent share for the host community but said that, as the Cabinet Secretary, he would handle the issue in consideration of national rather than parochial demands.

He said he would implement what is approved by President Uhuru Kenyatta

After Tuesday’s victory in court, Mr Nanok asked Mr Munyes to work with him in matters touching on natural resources, oil and minerals, to ensure interests of the host community are given top priority.

He was categorical that the community should not get less than 10 per cent as spelt out in an earlier Bill that was rejected by President Kenyatta. 

“Professionals in the county, all leaders from the county assembly, the county energy department and the national government should work closely to give the host community 10 per cent share of the oil revenue or more,” the Council of Governors chairman said.

Mr Munyes has not commented on the ruling so far but his former running mate, Mr Peter Lokoel, said that they were consulting on the way forward.

“We respect the court’s decision. We are still consulting with our lawyer Katwa Kigen and will give a way forward soon,” Mr Lokoel said. 

In his judgment on Tuesday, Justice Riech upheld arguments by the governor’s lawyer, Mr Philip Nyachoti, that Mr Munyes had not provided sufficient evidence to warrant nullification of Mr Nanok’s win.

“I am satisfied that the election of Governor Josephat Nanok on August 8 was conducted substantially in accordance with the principles of the Constitution,” Justice Riech ruled.