Blow to Kidero as court reduces stations for votes' scrutiny in petition against Wanga

Homa Bay petition

Dan Ojijo, a former IEBC official testifies before court on November 24,2022 in an election petition challenging the victory of Homa Bay Governor Gladys Wanga.

Photo credit: George Odiwuor I Nation Media Group

Former Nairobi governor Dr Evans Kidero has suffered a major blow after an election court sitting in Homa Bay reduced the number of polling stations listed for  scrutiny from 400 to 195.

In a case where Dr Kidero is challenging the election of Homa Bay Governor Gladys Wanga, court reviewed its earlier position to scrutinise votes in a large number of polling centers.

Earlier, Justice Roseline Aburili had ordered for scrutiny of election materials in 400 polling stations but reviewed the number to 195.
 
Dr Kidero asked the court to order for scrutiny of voting materials claiming that there were irregularities committed on the August 9 polls in some of the polling stations in the county.

The affected stations were picked randomly from seven constituencies in the county excluding Homa Bay Town constituency.

Governor Wanga’s lawyers led by Charles Kanjama and Fredrick Orego had earlier opposed the scrutiny on grounds that it will take longer if done in all the 400 polling stations.

Dr Kidero’s defense team is led by Julie Soweto, Kevin Oriri and Okweh Achiando.
  
According to the August 9 election results, Ms Wanga of ODM got 244,559 against 154,182 votes by Dr Kidero who was an independent candidate.

Dr Kidero is hoping that recount of votes will expose claims of anomalies in the poll.
 
On Thursday last week, an official from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission told the court that he was forced to announce the outcome of the poll at gunpoint.

Mr Dan Ojijo who served as the Presiding Officer at Ongeti Primary School polling station in Kochia ward testified that the election was not free and fair at that particular station.

Mr Ojijo claimed rowdy youths stormed his station with guns and crude weapons and forced him to alter election results to announce MS Wanga as winner at Ongeti polling station.

Mr Kanjama challenged reprimanded the witness on ground that he was contradicting himself in the evidence since there was an affidavit he had sworn indicating that counting of votes was  peaceful.

“You had earlier stated in your affidavit that the counting of votes was peaceful yet again you talk of violence in which you were threatened with a gun. Are you trying to mislead this court?” Mr Kanjama asked.

The advocate also linked Ojijo with personal hatred against his client citing a twitter post by the latter, who however denied having an account with the platform.

Other witnesses, Ogina Nyabola and Okinyi Rao testified in court on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Both claimed ODM party and its leadership influenced the outcome of the election in Nyanza region.

Mr Nyabola said the move by the party to issue a direct ticket to Ms Wanga was against the wish of many voters in Ndhiwa constituency where he represents the party as the chairman.

"There were at least five politicians who expressed interest in being Homa Bay governor using the ODM party. They all campaigned using the party's name but one person (Wanga) was favoured," Mr Nyabola told the court.

According to him, the process that the party used to settle on Ms Wanga infringed the rights of other party members.

"Having an ODM ticket in Homa Bay equals winning at the General Election. The party ought to have let the people decide who they want to lead them," Mr Nyabola saidHe argued that the party went against its stand on democracy by allegedly sidelining other politicians who were eyeing the county seat.
 

Advocates representing Ms Wanga and her deputy Oyugi Magwanga however challenged the party official to explain how ODM normally conducts its nomination and whether it was wrong for Ms Wanga to be issued with a certificate.

 Hearing of the case will go on through December and a judgment is expected to be delivered before March 8-exactly six months after the case was filed. 
 
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