, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 21 – Seven candidates were Wednesday put to task to explain why action should not be taken against them after allegations of violating the electoral code of conduct.
During the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Code of Conduct Enforcement Committee hearings chaired by Chairperson Wafula Chebukati, Bungoma Governor Ken Lusaka defended himself against accusations of fuelling chaos on June 2 leading to the death of a woman, blaming his rival Wycliffe Wangamati for stirring the mayhem.
According to Lusaka who is seeking re-election on a Jubilee Party ticket, Wangamati (Forum for Restoration of Justice – Kenya) disrupted an otherwise peaceful convoy by supporters of the county chief who were heading to Posta Grounds in Bungoma town for a campaign rally after Lusaka’s clearance by the IEBC.
“Being a Christian, I invited 20 bishops for prayer before going to present my papers. After the clearance we proceeded very well with our over 1,000 motorcycle riders in my convoy and I wanted to make a lap of honour and another group appeared with bees and unleashed them on me,” Lusaka argued saying it was through “divine intervention” that the bees did not sting him and members of his entourage.
Wangamati however refuted the claims saying it was in fact the governor who intruded their meeting which was to be held at a bus station not far from Posta Grounds.
He argued that supporters allied to Lusaka surged towards his team waving sticks, a clear indication according to him they were “ready for war”.
“The bus park is actually after the Posta Grounds where the governor was meant to have his rally. We even passed there and there were no issues but after our rally, we were doing a lap around the county and that is when we were attacked by youths of Mheshimiwa Lusaka,” Wangamati pleaded.
Also heard was a case involving two Starehe constituency candidates – Thomas Makori and Steve Mbogo – who argued their respective cases on their involvement or otherwise in vandalism of campaign posters.
Makori, the accuser told the committee that Mbogo and his agents had destroyed his campaign posters in a move aimed and humiliating him and undermining his campaign.
“It is my plea that my competitor Mbogo admits liability for his actions, writes an apology for the humiliation and embarrassment he has caused me and pay for the loss he caused me as per the electoral code of conduct,” he told the committee.
His arguments were however challenged by Mbogo’s legal counsel Edwin Sifuna who argued the accuser had demonstrated that he as well was guilty of destroying campaign posters of his competitors.
“Surely if there was such a violation, more material would have been presented but Mr Chairman even without going into details you can see that the poster of the complainant is on top of a another poster in a photo he’s submitted himself as evidence before this committee,” Sifuna, who is also vying for Nairobi Senator on an ODM ticket argued on behalf of his client.
Wiper Democratic Movement candidate for Kibwezi East Jessica Mbalu (incumbent MP) while appearing before the Chebukati-led committee accused her Jubilee competitor Prof Phillip Kaloki of violence and intimidation at some point alleging that she had been sexually harassed.
According to Mbalu, Kaloki frustrated every attempt she made on June 2 to address her constituents after being cleared to defend the seat by the IEBC by storming every campaign rally she tried to address.
“I kept avoiding him and his supporters but he kept following us with his rowdy supporters came to disrupt our meeting at a point when I was being called to address the people,” Mbalu who also serves as a Temporary Speaker in the National Assembly told the panel almost breaking into tears.
“I was a Member of Parliament of the same areas and you honour I can assure you that I am a candidate who is going to play by the rules. My advocacy for the Jubilee government’s achievements cannot amount to intimidation,” Kaloki debunked her claims.
Other cases heard are Erick Onyango vs Netto Adhola (Rarieda Constituency – Siaya), Kavore Kariuki vs Nixon Korir (Lang’ata Constituency – Nairobi), Raphael Musyoki and Peris Ayuma (Mountain View Ward – Nairobi) and Benson Ong’onge and Fredrick Onyangi Okeyo (Kayole South Ward – Nairobi).
Onyango’s counsel accused Adhola of adopting ODM party colours in his campaigns and using Raila Odinga’s portrait in his posters despite being and independent candidate.
Onyango in his submission sought to have Adhola restricted from using Odinga’s portrait on his campaign posters.
The Mountain View Ward contenders faced off over the use of the Amani National Congress (ANC) logo in campaign posters, Peris Ayuma being accused of wrongfully using the ANC logo despite being an independent candidate.
Ayuma denied the accusations saying she was not aware of the said posters.
IEBC will deliver rulings on the matters on Thursday and Friday.