Embakasi East MP Paul Ongili Owino alias Babu Owino has suffered a setback in the ongoing court petition challenging his August 8 win.
This after the High Court in Nairobi on Monday ordered a recount and scrutiny of votes cast in the constituency last year.
Justice Joseph Sergon said that he was satisfied that the petitoner – Francis Mureithi- had given sufficient reasons to warrant a recount.
In his application, Mureithi said that the illegibility and discrepancies on the result forms made it difficult to ascertain whether the results in Forms 35A corresponded with those in Form 35B.
Mureithi, represented by lawyer Ham Lagat and Kiragu Kimani, also told the judge that there were instances where votes were increased in favour of Owino, and deflation of his client’s votes.
Lagat added that the Forms 35A did not have the official IEBC stamp, while others did not bear signatures of the presiding officer.
During the hearing of the case in December 2017, Embakasi East Returning Officer, Nicholas Kipkorir Butuk, told the court that at the final stage of tallying, he was under duress from Babu Owino since he had misplaced Form 35C which he was supposed to fill and declare the winner.
He, however, went ahead to declare Babu the winner without the document saying he was arm-twisted.
“During the final stage of the tallying process, I realised that form 35C which is used to declare the winner, was missing. I had to look for it first but Babu Owino got impatient and went crazy. I was under pressure but I would not have announced different results because he was still the winner from the results we tallied,” Butuk clarified.
Appearing before Justice Joseph Sergon, Butuk also testified that he realised there was a tallying error after declaring Babu Owino winner of the election.
He, however, clarified that the error could not have changed the outcome of the election, adding that it only affected the last four out of the ten candidates who were in the race for the Embakasi East parliamentary seat.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission also admitted that there were errors in a number of forms, but said the errors could not be the basis for scrutiny.
The judge directed the IEBC to avail within two days Ballot boxes and disputed election forms to the deputy registrar of the high court.
Once the recount is concluded, the Deputy Registrar then has two days, as per the instructions of the court, to submit a report.
The matter will be heard on February 26 for final submissions.