MOMBASA, Kenya, Sep 27 – The High Court in Mombasa has upheld the election of Hassan Ali Joho as Governor.
Justice Fredrick Ochieng’ ruled on Friday that Joho was validly elected and that his challenger Suleiman Shahbal had failed to prove the issues he had raised in his petition.
He dismissed claims of voter bribery, death threats, ballot stuffing, and partiality by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) that had been claimed by the Wiper Party’s Shahbal.
“The evidence induced in court has not satisfied that alleged malpractices affected the outcome of the election hence the election was fair,” the judge ruled.
“The petitioner has not produced enough evidence to warrant the nullification of the whole exercise, therefore his allegation of electoral malpractice cannot be proved, the election was free and fair and I hereby dismiss the petition,” said Justice Ochieng’.
Shahbal was ordered to pay Sh3 million to meet Joho’s costs for the petition. The tycoon, who has business interests in banking, real estate and the energy sector, among others, said he would respect the decision of the court.
“We will consult with my supporters and legal team if it will be necessary to appeal the decision, but my ultimate role is to serve the people of Mombasa to improve the lives of the people,” said Shahbal.
The court said the petitioner had failed to blame allegations of vandalisation of his campaign billboards to any of the respondents and therefore it was not up to the respondents to reply to the allegations.
The court said the IEBC provided practical solutions by allowing people who had queued for long to be allowed to vote in any stream and therefore enabled most of the voters to exercise their constitutional duty.
The court said that multiple witnesses had disproved allegations by the petitioner that his witnesses were ejected during the voting process and only allowed in at 4pm.
Shahbal had filed the petition against the IEBC, the County Returning Officer Mwadime Mwashigadi and Joho, claiming that the electoral process was marred with irregularities.
He said that Joho was not validly elected because his agents were ejected from the polling stations and could therefore not ascertain what transpired during the voting and verifying the results announced by the IEBC.