William Libombolo Makhalanya, a candidate in the just concluded August 9 General Election, has moved to court to challenge the election of his opponent Grey Moi, who was declared winner of the Lugari Ward Member of the County Assembly (MCA) race.
Mr. Makhalanya has sued the returning officer for Lugari Sub-county mentioned as the first respondent, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) as the second respondent and Grey Moi Amutete as the third respondent in the case to be heard starting tomorrow in Kakamega.
The leader, who spoke to the Western Kenya Times via phone, alleges that the MCA polls in Lugari Ward were marred with irregularities that denied him and other candidates a fair and free chance of winning.
He pointed out that officials of the IEBC and his opponent’s agents in some polling stations conspired to interfere with the election results in the night of tallying on August 9 and unfairly awarded Mr. Grey Moi, who has already been sworn in, a win of 1,764 votes.
“In Sirende, my colleague got 500 votes, which is negative according to my understanding. They played in three different stations. When you check the results of IEBC, there are only three polling stations which he did good, the rest there were no enough votes to make him to win, so he knows what he did to those polling stations,” he said.
The leader claims that at Sirende Primary Polling Station, electricity in one of the streams was intentionally put off twice and all his three agents chased out.
“Inside the room there were only IEBC agents and policemen, all other people were chased away. I bought torches for all my people plus the batteries… the IEBC agents were also having their lamps, why did they chase them out, why couldn’t they use all the lights?” He questioned.
At Lugari Primary School Polling Station, the leader claims that one of his agents were denied entry into one stream, only one was allowed in. He said his people were beaten and chased away, a case he would later file with the police.
He went on to say that some ballot boxes were opened before counting kicked off, a claim that was also raised by Richard Sisah, also a candidate in the election, against Grey Moi.
Mr. Sisah, who emerged second with 1,545 votes, also earlier on said he was moving to court to dispute Moi’s win.
“I have all the documents, I was complaining about what I saw and what happened,” Mr. Makhalanya continued.
At Mufutu Primary Polling Station, he claims his agents were also unfairly treated. One agent was chased away and only one allowed entry in one of the streams up to about 12.30 am in the night of election tallying after the election.
Mr. Makhalanya claims that his agents were denied access into streams in at least five polling stations, something which prompted his chief agent to intervene and at one point speak to the returning officer to take action.
Apart from the game played on his agents, the politician claims his supporters were intimidated and chased away from polling stations to cause voter apathy.
Makhalanya now wants the election nullified for lacking credibility. He says other six candidates raised concerns on the manner in which polls were conducted but didn’t have enough resources to file their cases.
He said that Mr. Moi was served a copy of the petition by the court but he sent goons to chase away the messenger.
“After the chief magistrate heard what had happened, he ordered my lawyer to serve him the affidavit by way of advertisement on a newspaper (done on October 6, 2022 by Chimei & Company Advocates),” he said.
Attempts to reach out to Grey Moi for a response on this and other allegations were futile for he could not pick calls.
Asked what would be his next step if he lost the case, Makhalanya said he would continue to be of service to the people of Lugari.
“God willing I will look for funds assisting the people of Lugari. I can still do it even without working for the government,” he concluded.
Sam Oduor is the editor-in-chief at the Western Kenya Times who leverages the power of the Internet in telling stories that shape opinions.