Supreme Court pardons Obado, hears petition

April 8, 2014 3:17 pm
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The hearing went ahead after Obado personally appeared in court and apologised for bad-mouthing the Judiciary/SIMON NDONGA
The hearing went ahead after Obado personally appeared in court and apologised for bad-mouthing the Judiciary/SIMON NDONGA
NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 8 – The Supreme Court will decide the fate of ousted Migori Governor Zacharia Obado on April 23 after his petition challenging the ruling of the Appeals Court was heard on Tuesday.

The hearing went ahead after Obado personally appeared in court and apologised for bad-mouthing the Judiciary.

Obado, through his lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi told the court that he had not authorised the statement that criticised the decision by the Court of Appeal that nullified his election as Migori Governor.

“It was somebody else in his office who is responsible for the statement. He (Obado) is apologetic and has issued a statement with regard to the matter,” Abdullahi told the two-judge bench consisting of justices Njoki Ndung’u and Mohammed Ibrahim.

Justice Ibrahim accepted the apology on behalf of the court and stated that the issue had been verified and an explanation as to what happened given.

Obado had been summoned by the Supreme Court to explain alleged comments made over his election petition loss, where he reportedly questioned the decision, terming it politically instigated and lacking in substance.

Justice Ibrahim further emphasised the need not to digress from the weightier matters affecting the people of Migori and stated the court’s acceptance of the apology.

After the apology, the court went on to hear the reasons why the decision by the Court of Appeal should be nullified.

“We are faulting the decision by the Court of Appeal on constitutional grounds. The judgment was biased and there was no fair trial. It was unilateral at every step and we would wish for this court to overturn it,” Abdullahi stated.

His co-counsel Okong’o Omogeni stated that the difference in the number of votes counted was too huge to warrant a nullification of the election results.

“Even after re-tallying, there was a 300 percent increase in Obado’s votes – to be more precise by 577 votes. If the increase was by just about two or three votes, then the courts could have called for a nullification but the wide margin in this regard did not warrant that,” he stated during his submissions.

Edward Oyugi’s counsel Steve Mwenesi however contended that the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction in that matter since the proper legal procedures were not followed in filing the notice.

He further stated that the decision of the Court of Appeal should be upheld since the petitioner had not specified the action he wanted the court to take, whether to reinstate him or extend his tenure.

Obado’s election as Migori Governor was nullified by the Court of Appeal which ruled that there were tallying errors in results that were used to declare him winner.

The court ruled that 44 cases of alterations were found in Kuria West, Kuria East and Suna West.

The case originated from a petition filed at the High Court by Obado’s rival Edward Oyugi of ODM.

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