The Supreme Court has upheld the election of governors Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and Salim Mvurya (Kwale), rejecting petitions challenging their victories.
The judges on Friday ruled that the governors were validly elected.
Dr Mutua’s 2017 election win was challenged by his rival Wavinya Ndeti, who argued the process was marred by irregularities. Ms Ndeti said IEBC announced results that did not reflect the voting that took place.
High Court Judge Aggrey Muchelule dismissed Ms Ndeti’s petition but the appellate court overturned the decision, faulting the returning officer for using the wrong form.
While arguing before the Supreme Court, Dr Mutua through lawyer Kioko Kilukumi admitted that the returning officer made a “slight deviation” and used an excel spreadsheet to collate and announce the results.
However, he added, the deviation does not take away the constitutional test of verifiability of the results. “There was no finding by the trial court that the data was fraudulent, inflated or otherwise fictitious. All the forms were signed by among others, Wiper agents,” Mr Kilukumi.
Mr Kilukumi said the signing of the electoral forms is not an “idle exercise” but signifies adding that the returning officer only used the spreadsheet for efficiency and accuracy and that it was sanctioned by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
After the Supreme Court decision, Ms Ndeti issued a statement and said that the election did not meet the standards of verifiability as required by law.
“I continue to believe the elections of Machakos County did not meet the standards of verifiability, transparency and credibility. The Court of Appeal delivered a fair judgment on June 8. While I respect the Supreme Court’s decision, I maintain that my opponent was not validly elected and he has continued to force himself on the people of Machakos,” said Ms Ndeti.
She added that without a free and fair electoral process, there is neither the possibility for citizens to express their will nor the opportunity to change leaders, approve policies for the country, address wrongs or even protest the limitation of their rights.
“Through patriotism and diligence, I urge Machakos County Assembly under the leadership of Speaker Florence Mwangangi to unite and ensure that the people of Machakos are able to benefit from Devolution by getting quality services and being able to take part in Strategic decision making processes,” she said.
The verdict by the apex court was received with mixed reactions in Machakos County with some appreciating the need to put an end to politics for the sake of development while Ms Ndeti’s supporters expressed dismay at the decision saying the will of the people had been disregarded.
Former Machakos Deputy Governor Bernard Kiala said the judgement now gives the people of Machakos an opportunity to focus all their energies development matters.
“We have been in an election mood for too long and the Machakos cannot develop when some quarters are engaged in supremacy and legitimacy battles,” said Mr Kiala.
He urged both the Executive and the Legislative arm of the county to find a working formula in the spirit of the national handshake and reconciliation for the greater benefit of the people of Machakos.
Additional reporting Stephen Muthini.