Lugari Ward residents may go back to the polls to elect a Member of the County Assembly (MCA) after the Kakamega Law Court nullified the victory of Grey Moi in the August 9 general election.
William Libombolo Makhalanya is the winner in the petition he filed seeking the court to declare the election of Mr. Moi null and void following a number of irregularities he cited in the poll process.
The judgement, delivered by Hon. Dolphina Malema, Presiding Election Court Judicial Officer, under Election Petition No. E004 of 2022 determined that the election was conducted in a manner that was not free and fair.
“This court affirms that the election in this ward was marred by so many anomalies analyzed above and finds that the third respondent AMUTETE GREY MOI was not duly elected as the member of the County Assembly for Lugari Ward in the General Election held on 9 the August, 2022 in accordance with the principles set out in the Constitution Article 81(e),” read part of the judgment.
Therefore, there will be a repeat of the election within the 60 days stipulated by law, unless Mr. Moi makes an appeal to challenge the judgment.
If no appeal is made, the Kakamega County Assembly will declare the seat vacant and open for contest.
What led to all this?
William Libombolo Makhalanya, a candidate in the August 9 General Election, 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 sued the returning officer for Lugari Constituency mentioned as the first respondent, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) as the second respondent, and Grey Moi Amutete as the third respondent.
The leader, who spoke to the Western Kenya Times, alleged 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 on the night of tallying on August 9 and unfairly awarded Mr. Grey Moi, who won with 1,764 votes and was later sworn in, victory.
“In Sirende, my colleague got 500 votes, which is negative according to my understanding. They played on three different stations. When you check the results of the IEBC, there are only three polling stations where he did well; at the rest, there were not enough votes to make him win, so he knows what he did at those polling stations,” he said.
The leader claimed that at Sirende Primary Polling Station, electricity in one of the streams was intentionally shut off twice and all three of his agents were 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 was 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 was allowed to enter one of the streams until about 12.30 a.m. the night 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.
He said that Mr. Moi was served a copy of the petition by the court, but he sent goons to chase away the messenger, which forced him to advertise on a local newspaper.
“After the chief magistrate heard what had happened, he ordered my lawyer to serve him the affidavit by way of advertisement in a newspaper (done on October 6, 2022, by Chimei & Company Advocates),” he said.
What did Mr. Moi say before the judgement?
Speaking to the Western Kenya Times just after the petition was filed, Grey Moi opened up on the case seeking to overturn his win, saying that it was “a storm in a tea cup.”
The MCA, however, admitted that the case was a big challenge to his leadership as it made him not want to be settled to perform service as required.
Mr. Makhalanya, who raised serious claims of misconduct on the part of IEBC officials in collusion with Mr. Moi, filed the case early this month and sued the IEBC, the Lugari Constituency returning officer, and Mr. Moi on the grounds that the election was not conducted in a manner that is free and fair.
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.