Ex-MP Kanini Kega challenges his defeat in Kieni race

Kieni MP Kanini Kega addresses a press conference in Nyeri town.

Kieni MP Kanini Kega addresses a press conference in Nyeri town on July 9, 2022. Mr Kega has challenged his defeat in the August 9, polls.

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

A voter and a chief agent of former Kieni MP Kanini Kega have moved to court to challenge the parliamentary election results.

Voter Geoffrey Wahome and James Maina, a political agent for Mr Kega, want the High Court to nullify the results on the grounds that the process was flawed and not democratic.

Through lawyer Musa Boaz, they fault the way the electoral agency conducted the elections, tallied the votes and transmitted the results, accusing new Kieni MP Anthony Wainaina of sabotaging their campaigns.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Kieni returning officer David Mbui and Mr Wainaina are listed as the first, second and third respondents, respectively.

The petitioners claim the results were manipulated and list eight wards where results were repeatedly cancelled or altered without respective counter-signing by IEBC officials.

For instance, they allege, figures recorded on form 35A at the Gakanga Primary School polling station in Gatarakwa ward were cancelled and changed in favour of Mr Wainaina.

The document shows that candidate Stephen Muchire garnered 198 votes but the figure was cancelled and changed to three votes.

“On the same document, Mr Wainaina’s entry was changed to read 197 with the last digit having been evidently altered,” the petitioners say.

They argue that the presiding officer did not counter-sign the document to show that he approved the alterations or to explain the changes as required by law.

Signature discrepancies

The IEBC is also accused of allowing signature discrepancies made by its officials and political party agents on forms 34A and 35A in various wards in the constituency.

Some of the signatures of presiding officers at five polling stations in forms 34A and 35A do not match but they are purported to have been signed by the same people, lawyer Boaz states.

At one polling station, form 35A was allegedly not signed by the deputy presiding officer and only one political agent signed it.

The suit also cites discrepancies in the number of registered voters who voted for President and member of the National Assembly at six polling stations.

They blame this on stuffing of ballot papers for the MP’s seat that resulted in a mismatch between the total number of votes cast for MP and those for President.

“The total number of votes for the Member of National Assembly as captured in form 35A was 75,842 votes while that of the presidential was 73,462 creating a difference of 2,380 votes which cannot be accounted for,” the petitioners claim.

Youth polytechnic

Lawyer Boaz cites the example of form 34A from the Nairutia Youth Polytechnic polling station in Mugunda that recorded 408 registered voters, while form 35A from the same polling station had 401 registered voters.

The IEBC is also accused of electoral malpractices at the polling station.

The petitioners say the constituency returning officer pinned election materials for guidance at polling stations.

In the materials, which were meant for voter education, Mr Wainaina’s name was marked, giving him undue advantage, especially among undecided and illiterate voters, they argue.

“Efforts to have this corrected was met with hostility [from] IEBC officials and political agents of the MP-elect,” the petitioners say.

At the start of voting, the petitioners say, political party agents allied to the Jubilee party were forcibly denied entry to more than 30 polling stations in various wards in Kieni.

The petitioners also claim there was an unrealistically high number of voters who needed assistance to vote at nine polling stations.

“When our political agents complained about the irregularity, the presiding officers ejected them from the polling stations without justification only alleging interference,” the suit papers say.

The law allows the disabled and illiterate persons to seek help in casting their votes.

The petitioners claim some IEBC clerks in the constituency have since been charged in court with election offences.

They say IEBC officials at some polling stations gave out extra ballot papers so as to inflate voter turnout.

Mr Wainaina is accused of bribing voters by promising them parcels of public land and monetary benefits.

The petitioners claim he worked with the IEBC to facilitate massive transfers of voters from neighbouring constituencies to Kieni so they could vote for him.

He is also accused of instigating violence, intimidation and destruction of property during campaigns. He allegedly hired goons to destroy Mr Kega’s campaign materials, including billboards and posters.