MP declared winner without by-election now loses seat

PARLIAMENT-MAIN-GATE

KISUMU, Kenya, Mar 14 – The Court of Appeal has nullified the election of John Oyioka, who was declared Member of Parliament for Bonchari by the High Court.

The Court of Appeal sitting in Kisumu differed with the High Court which declared Oyioka MP without a by-election, when he challenged the election of Zebedeo Opore.

Appellate Judges David Musinga, Festus Azangalala and Sankale Ole Kantai ruled that the High Court should have called for a by-election, due to the glaring anomalies in the March 4, 2013 General Election.

“We find and hold that the trail judge, having found that there existed such irregularities and errors that would have swayed the final outcome either way and considering that the winning margin was only four votes ought to have nullified the election of the appellant as the member of the National Assembly for Bonchari and proceed to order a by-election,” the judges said.

“This court hereby directs the third respondent (IEBC) to conduct a by-election to fill the position that was held by the first respondent (Oyioka),” said the judges in their ruling.

The ruling follows a successful appeal by Opore challenging the decision by the High Court made in September last year which nullified his election as the Bonchari MP.

Lady Justice Ruth Sitati had declared Oyioka the winner after a recount and scrutiny of votes showed he garnered 8,967 against Opore’s 8,963 votes.

Oyioka who was in court during the session did not comment on the ruling, but Opore lauded the decision, saying he is ready to face the electorate.

“There is no time in Kenya’s history where, where the person who files the petition challenging the election of another has been declared validly elected by the courts on account of a votes tally and allowed to go to Parliament.”

“But now, I am at peace because even the election laws recognise that going back to the polls is the only way to address irregularities that may have occurred during my election,” he told reporters outside the Kisumu High Court.