, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 20 – The Court of Appeal has upheld a High Court ruling rendering invalid, the election of Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi.
In a ruling delivered by Justice Kathurima M’Inoti on behalf of a three-judge bench on Friday, the Court of Appeal upheld a finding by Justice Alfred Mabeya that Abdi’s academic qualifications were not in order and hence he was not qualified to vie for the seat during the August 8 General Election.
“A person who is not qualified to vie for a particular seat cannot hold onto his forced victory by pointing to the margin of his votes vis-à-vis his competitors,” the appellate court ruled while upholding the January 12 High Court verdict.
“He (Abdi) ought not to have been in the race in the first place and the alleged victory is a distortion of reality and a subversion of the electoral process,” Justice M’Inoti further outlined.
He said it was unnecessary for the court to conduct an examination of the poll results since that would not change the outcome of the case.
“The election must stand invalidated because the person declared the winner – the appellant – was not qualified to vie and thus was not validly elected,” the judge said.
“That being the inescapable adjudicative result, we do not see any utility in embarking on a forensic examination of the other grounds in pursuit of a merely an academic aim,” he added while ordering Governor Abdi to pay costs.
Abdi’s election had been overturned in January following a successful petition by former Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi of the Orange Democratic Movement party.
Abdullahi called to question Abdi’s academic qualifications while citing other irregularities during the August 8 election in which Abdi emerged the winner.
While annulling Abdi’s election on January 12, Justice Mabeya had termed as doubtful claims that the Governor had obtained a masters degree from Kampala University within six months.
He said a letter for the Commission of University Education indicating that the institution was recognised in the country was not sufficient evidence to debunk Abdullahi’s claims that Abdi was not academically qualified to seek the gubernatorial seat.
Abdi’s lawyers told the Court of Appeal that they intended to move to the Supreme Court to challenge the nullification of his election.