WAJIR GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS NULLIFIED BY COURT
Yesterday, the High Court made its judgement on Wajir gubernatorial election was nullified after election petition case filed by two petitioners: Ahmed Abdullah Mohamad and Ahmed Muhumud Abdi (former Wajir County governor) against Hon. Mohamed Abdi Mohamed (Wajir County governor), IEBC and Gichohi Gatuma Patrick. The petition was filed on 6th September 2017 challenging the win of Mohamed Abdi Mohammed.
The judgement was declared on 12th January, 2018 in Nairobi. Below are the details.
Allegations made By Petitioners
- Mohamed Abdi did not have qualifications to participate as a candidate for governor’s seat stating that he had forged degree certificate from Kampala University.
- Presiding officers were inquiring loudly from voters the candidates they preferred which was breach of Article 38 and 81 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.
- There were irregularities in the declaration forms as some of them were unsigned, unstamped and undated.
- The petitioner’s agents were ejected from the polling stations.
- In some stations the votes cast exceeded the total registered voters and some of the KIEMS were lost hence undermining the election results of Wajir County governor’s elections.
- In Wajir West, Tarbaj, Wajir East and Eldas it was alleged that the elections results were manipulated, pre-determined or pre-arranged. This manipulation is claimed to have affected 13,632 votes.
- Finally, it was alleged by the petitioners that IEBC failed to secure the ballot papers and boxes. Further, unmarked ballot papers were found in possession of unauthorized person.
- Based on the above allegations the petitioners demanded that the court declare that the governor was not duly elected as required by the law.
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) defended Governor Mohamed Abdi’s qualifications from Kampala University. IEBC stated that the university is recognized by the Commission of University Education (CUE) in Kenya and no one lodged any complaints on the candidate’s qualifications.
The petitioners accused IEBC returning officers of inquiring loudly from voters on whom they wanted to vote for. When voters are assisted to vote, Form 32 must be filled. A scrutiny of 53 polling stations as order by the court found out that there was only 4 form 32 filled for assisted voters despite the high level of illiteracy in the county.
Out of the 22,089 registered voters, only 16,170 voted or 73.2% voted and the petitioners provided evidence that most of those who voted were assisted voters but no Form 32 was filed as required by law.
The petitioners argued that by presiding officers inquiring loudly from the voters on who they wanted to vote for would expose them to victimization as a result of clannism in Wajir County.
In Rabsu Centre located in Wajir North 390 votes were cast against 389 registered voters. This is mystery which happens in Kenya during elections in Kenya.
On explaining why some forms lacked essential security features such as water marks and serial numbers, the responsible presiding offers explained that the official printer issued by IEBC did not work as expected, therefore they used unauthorized printers. The judge would not understand why IEBC which was allocated Ksh. 49 billion to conduct the elections failed to buy quality printers and avoid investing taxpayers’ money on “paper eating printers.”
The petitioners claimed that IEBC failed to secure the ballots papers and ballot boxes. The extract below from the judgement summarizes all:
“…that a driver of Mohamed Elmi was found in possession of a ballot box and ballot papers. He was arrested for that offence. A police report made at Wajir Police Station was produced as “AMM 26” at page 194 of the petition. The fact was not disputed.” – High Court Judgement
Was Abedi Mohamud Qualified to vie for gubernatorial seat in Wajir?
This was a major issue that has been addressed by the High Court judgement. The petitioners alleged that the 1st respondent (Hon. Mohamed Abdi) used a forged university degree certificate from Kampala International University to get approved by IEBC to vie for Wajir County governor’s position. The petitioners did not rest there case there, they further alleged that the governor did not sit for both ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels exams. Therefore, there is no way he would be admitted for an undergraduate degree court minus those pre-requisites.
On 3rd September, 2014 Hon. Abedi Mohamed Mohamud while appeared before the parliamentary Departmental Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations for vetting for the position of Ambassador to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia admitted that he did not have a degree qualification from any university.
The petitioners pointed out that since the governor hails from Wajir, many people know “he never attended any university.” Scrutiny on this matter revealed that the name of Hon. Abedo Mohamud does not appear in the list of graduands for Bachelor of Business Administration wat Kampala University whose graduation took place on 1st March, 2012. The governor did not reply to these allegations made by petitioners and “failed to appear in court to shed light on these matters.”
The judge concluded on this education matter as follows:
“Accordingly, I made a finding that as at 8th August, 2017, the 1st respondent did not have the academic qualifications to vie for the position of governor. He was therefore not legally cleared to vie for the position as he did not satisfy the provisions of section 22(2) of the Elections Act.”
Final Declarations (extracted from the judgement)
Based on the above premises and many others not covered in this blog article the court made the following final declarations:
The 1st respondent was not validly cleared to vie for the seat of governor for Wajir County as he did not possess the educational qualifications.
The first respondent was not validly elected to the position of governor and his election is hereby declared null and void;
The third respondent do hold a fresh election in conformity with the Constitution and the Elections Act, 2011.
The respondents do jointly and severally, pay costs to the petitioners to be taxed by the Deputy Registrar provided however that the instructions fee is capped at Kshs. 2 million.
It is so decreed.
DATED and DELIVERD at Nairobi this 12th day of January 2018.
The legal battle may continue in the Kenya Court of Appeal if the respondents appeal the case. If that does not happen, fresh elections will be held in Wajir County and the respondents will pay Ksh. 2 million to the petitioners after taxation.
We will keep you posted on this matter.