Martin Wambora survives Kivuti onslaught in Embu
The Court of Appeal has overturned High Court's decision to nullify Martin Wambora's re-election as Embu governor.
In upholding the governor's poll win, the court on Friday ruled Mr Wambora was validly elected and the irregularities cited by the opponent Lenny Kivuti could not be attributable to him.
Consequently, appellate judges William Ouko, Daniel Musinga, and Fatuma Sichale held that the governor could not be penalised for the errors that marred the poll.
“The burden of proof was not discharged by the petitioner and therefore the High Court erred in invalidating the Martin Wambora’s election as governor of Embu County,” the judges ruled.
They also found that the High Court relied on evidence not presented before the court.
In February, the High Court sitting in Embu nullified Mr Wambora's poll win citing massive irregularities that it said compromised the integrity of the process.
Justice William Musyoka had said the vote recount and scrutiny, which he ordered in January, unearthed various irregularities that cast doubts on the outcome of the August 8 governor's contest.
Judge Musyoka had said the results of the candidates were exaggerated thus his order for the recount.
He said the recount unearthed missing forms 37A for 12 polling stations, while a majority others were illegible, and the ballot lacked counterfoil papers.
He noted that the recount revealed 111 extra votes, which could not be attributed to anyone, thereby creating uncertain
Judge Musyoka agreed with the petitioner, former Senator Lenny Kivuti of Maendeleo Chap Chap party, that the votes could have been illegally introduced with an intention to distort the results.
He said the recount showed that the difference between Mr Wambora’s and Mr Kivuti’s votes was between 700 and 800 votes.
He noted that unaccounted for ballots affected 566 votes, the missing counterfoils affected over 4,000 votes while the missing or illegible forms 37A carried more than 10,000 votes.
He said although the petitioner had not applied for nullification of the election, the court was duty-bound to call for it after the anomalies were detected during the recount and scrutiny.