Kenyan MP protests vote recount

April 12, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 12 – Starehe Member of Parliament Bishop Margaret Wanjiru has raised a red flag over some ballot boxes in the on going vote recount.

Bishop Wanjiru who is trailing former MP Maina Kamanda with over 11,000 votes told the court on Monday that 35 boxes were missing vital documents.

Through lawyer Chacha Odera, Bishop Wanjiru wants the court to note that 35 boxes cannot be traced in any of the polling stations within Starehe constituency.

Mr Odera said that in some instances contents of the ballot boxes differed from stations indicated in the window inside the ballot boxes.

He added that forms 16A affixed on top of the ballot boxes did not tally with contents inside the same ballot boxes.

Mr Odera who is representing Bishop Wanjiru in the recount hall said in an affidavit that he has on several occasions asked the Interim Independent Electoral Commission officials to produce the schedule of distribution of strategic materials in respect of Starehe constituency during the 2007 general elections.

The schedule shows the details of serial numbers of ballot boxers, ballot papers and serials, which assist in identifying the polling stations of each box.

“I have been asking for it without success. It is necessary for the schedule to be provided before the recount is completed,” said Mr Odera.

The Starehe vote recount is in its final stretch with less than forty boxes remaining to be counted. The recount team covers an average of seven boxes a day.

The scrutiny began on February 26. High Court Deputy Registrar Stephen Riechi presides over the exercise.

Presiding Judge Justice Kihara Kariuki directed the returning officer during the elections Manasseh Mugasia to swear an affidavit explaining whether he received the schedule. The returning officer was directed that if he was given the schedule he should file it in court.

Justice Kihara further directed that similarly an officer from IIEC should swear an affidavit in reply to Bishop Wanjiru\’s application and explain the efforts the Commission is making to produce the schedule.

He directed all parties to appear in court on Tuesday.

Justice Kihara declined to stop the vote recount and directed that the exercise should continue pending the determination of Bishop Wanjiru\’s appeal.

Maina Kamanda who claims that he won with over 46,000 votes is challenging the election of Bishop Wanjiru as the MP for Starehe.

Meanwhile, Kamkunji parliamentary loser Ahmed Ibrahim has asked the High Court to verify whether all election documents used during the last general election are inside ballot boxes handed over to a court official pending the hearing of an election petition he has filed against the sitting legislator Simon Mbugua.

The petitioner through lawyer Owino Opondo on Monday asked justice Kalpana Rawal to direct that the boxes be opened before the hearing of the petition commences arguing that an inventory produced by the defunct Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) was not satisfactory.

Mr Opondo is claiming that crucial documents among them forms 16 and 17 As were not preserved after the parliamentary elections.

However Mr Mbugua through lawyer Kibe Mungai asked the court to reject the application arguing their case would be prejudiced.

Mr Mungai explained that some of the documents in question touch on merits of his client’s case against the petitioner. He also argued that Mr Ibrahim has not laid any evidential basis upon which the court should direct the ballot boxes be opened.

The advocate said that all the election documents were delivered to the High Court deputy registrar on February 15 this year.


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