Kimilili MP-elect Didmus Barasa’s opponent challenges his victory in court

Brian Khaemba

Kimilili MP candidate on DAP-K ticket Mr Brian Khaemba during a press conference on August 11, 2022.

Photo credit: Brian Ojamaa I Nation Media Group

A Kimilili politician whose aide was allegedly shot dead by Kimilili MP-elect Didmus Barasa during the August 9, 2022 elections has moved to court to challenge his win.

Mr Brian Khaemba, a fierce opponent of Mr Barasa filed the petition challenging his win before the Bungoma High Court. The petition comes barely two weeks after a Kakamega court released the MP-Elect on a Sh5milion cash bail in relation to the murder case.

Mr Brian Olunga, an aide to Mr Khamemba who contested for the Kimilili parliamentary seat was allegedly fatally shot by Mr Barasa on the voting day at Chebkhwabi polling station.

Mr Khaemba who vied on the Democratic Action Party of Kenya (DAP-K) ticket says he was not satisfied with the results, which showed his opponent and UDA candidate Mr Barasa won the race.

Kimilili Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Returning Officer George Omondi declared Mr Barasa the winner with 26,861 votes, while Mr Khaemba had 9,497 votes.

Jubilee candidate Mr Erastus Muchumuji got 278 votes, Mr Peter Makokha (ODM) 486 while Mr Suleiman Kasuti Murunga (Independent) got 479 votes.

Announcing the results at St Luke's Kimilili Boys High School, Mr Omondi said all due procedures were followed and the final tally was a true reflection of the will of the Kimilili people.

“We verified and tallied the results as brought by returning officers from the four wards of Kamukuywa, Kimilili, Maeni and Kibingei and were satisfied that they were accurate,” Mr Omondi said.

But in a 26-page petition, Mr Khaemba claimed the process was marred by discrepancies.

Through Ongoya & Wambola advocates, he wants his opponent’s victory overturned, arguing that he had displayed his arm in public and went ahead to shoot his aide, Mr Olunga at Chebukwabi polling station.

Mr Khaemba claims after the shooting of his aide, his agents took off out of fear. He argues that the shooting caused voter apathy in areas where he had a lot of support.

Further, he claims the election was marred by voter bribery, intimidation of agents and chaos and that several of his supporters were assaulted in various places before and during the polls.

He also argues that Mr Barasa used public resources while campaigning, which was an election offense.

"Mr Barasa rebranded a Kimilili NG- CDF vehicle and painted it with UDA colours and he used it for campaigns, something that is against the law and police are probing the matter," he said.

Mr Barasa has, however, laughed off the petition saying his victory reflected the will of the Kimilili electorate who are satisfied with his sound development record.

Renowned lawyers

"Everyone who feels that they were not satisfied with the results and my victory have all the democratic right enshrined in the Constitution to challenge in court since the people who voted are the same who will vote again," he said.

The MP-elect said he was not shocked with the petition since it wasn't the first time a petition had been launched against his victory.

“In 2017, the former Kimilili MP Suleiman Murunga challenged my victory in court. I won the case and up-to-date he hasn't paid the court fine. So whoever is also taking this direction let him be ready to face the consequences,” he said.

Mr Barasa said that he had already identified a number of renowned lawyers to look into the grievances raised by Mr Khaemba.

After declaring Mr Barasa winner of the Kimilili parliamentary race, the constituency Returning Officer had withheld his certificate, demanding that he collects it in person and not his agent who showed up to collect it on his behalf.

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