, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 9 – The Court of Appeal has reinstated Gatundu North MP Clement Waibara after overturning a High Court order that nullified his election.
The MP had lost his seat in August this year when High Court Judge Fred Ochieng sent him packing for election malpractices.
Waibara successfully challenged the High Court decision before the Appellate court which ruled that Justice Ochieng had made errors in law and fact in declaring the seat vacant.
The Court of Appeal after assessing the evidence before the trial court said that Justice Ochieng having discredited the evidence of three main witnesses of the election petition – one of them being former area MP Patrick Muiruri – ought to have treated their evidence with a lot of caution.
Bernard Chege Mburu had moved to court to challenge the 2007 election of Waibara as Gatundu North MP.
Justice Fred Ochieng’ in his ruling said the Electoral Commission of Kenya which presided over the 2007 election failed to discharge its duties lawfully since the presiding officer did not sign Form 16A as required.
Chege, a voter moved to court claiming that Waibara’s best friend Martin Kahura took a language proficiency test on his behalf to qualify for parliamentary candidacy.
He said Waibara was a school dropout who cannot articulate himself in English and Kiswahili.
He also accused the MP of electoral irregularities, including bribery of voters and causing violence before and during the December 2007 polls.
Waibara becomes the first MP to successfully appeal against the High Court decision following the 2007 General Election. Eleven MPs lost their seats after election petitions were filed against them.
In their judgement Appeal Judges Samuel Bosire, Philip Waki and Alnashir Visram said the High Court should have ordered for the opening and scrutiny of all the ballot papers and other electoral documents like forms 16 A and 17 A.