Court of Appeal throws out petition against Wajir governor’s election

Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi on April 27, 2023.

Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi on April 27, 2023.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

The Court of Appeal has struck out a petition against the election of Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi and his Deputy Ahmed Mihumed Abdi.

The election petition was filed by Mr Hassan Mohamed Adam.

A three-judge bench said the petition offends rule six of the Court of Appeal (Election Petition) Rules, 2017 which requires that all appeals be initiated by way of a notice of appeal.

“It is our finding that there is no valid appeal before the Court as only a proper notice of appeal can trigger an appeal. We are in agreement with the respondents’ argument that the notice of appeal filed was a nullity as it purports to be a notice of appeal filed under the Election Petition Rules,” reads part of the ruling.

The bench consisted of Justice Daniel Musinga, Justice H.A Omondi and Justice G. W Ngenye Macharia.

{“By parity of reasoning, it follows that no notice of appeal was filed in this matter and there is no jurisdiction for the Court to entertain the appeal and/or to extend time for filing the notice of appeal... Accordingly, we hereby strike out this appeal and award costs thereof to the respondents. It is so ordered,” the judges noted.

They added that, “the Court has no business crafting a jurisdiction it does not have, whatever amount of sympathy it may have on the applicant. It has to down its tools.”

The petitioner had alleged that the Wajir gubernatorial election was not conducted in accordance with the Constitution, and the requisite election laws and regulations.

He alleged several illegalities and irregularities, including intimidation and misinformation of voters, gross discrepancies in the statutory forms, improper tallying and tabulation of results, failure to deploy KIEMS kits, and inflation of voter numbers. He sought an order for scrutiny and recount of the votes.

The petitioner claimed that there was the padding of votes and unlawful ejection of his agents from several polling stations in Wajir East and Wajir West constituencies.

Mr Adam was appealling the ruling of High Court judge George Dulu, who had dismissed the claims saying the petitioner had failed to produce sufficient evidence to show that the election was marred with irregularities.

Governor Abdullahi, running on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party ticket, bounced back to county leadership in the August 2022 polls after failing to secure a second term in the 2017 election. He had served as Wajir County boss at the start of devolution between 2013 and 2017 before losing to Jubilee Party’s Mohamed Abdi Mohamud in 2017 polls.