Voters in Lamu West could be headed back to the polls after the High Court nullified the election of first-time Maendeleo Chap Chap MP Stanley Muthama.
In a ruling delivered Wednesday, the court also ordered the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and its returning officer to pay the petitioner, Mr Rishad Ahmed Amana, Sh3 million in costs.
Justice Weldon Korir said the August 8, 2017 election for Lamu West Constituency was not conducted in accordance to the law.
“Declaration is granted that Stanley Muthama was not validly elected as the Lamu West MP and I declare Lamu West Constituency election on August 8 as null and void,” he said.
At the same time, Justice Korir referred the case to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to investigate Lamu West Returning Officer Abdalla Mwarua and his deputy, who are accused of committing illegalities, for further legal actions.
However, the judge absolved Mr Muthama from blame, saying although he was a beneficiary of the electoral malpractices, there was no evidence that he participated or initiated the offences.
The judge issued the judgment after receiving a report on scrutiny and recount of votes in disputed polling stations in the constituency from the Malindi Law Courts Deputy Registrar Wandia Nyambu.
The judge noted that report on scrutiny and recount of votes had indicated that in one of the polling station, Mr Muthama’s votes were reduced by three while the petitioner had 91 votes removed from his tally.
“The RO and IEBC used human error as excuse to escape the burden of proof,” said the judge adding, “a small mistake can distort the will of the people and it is the duty of this court to ensure justice prevails.”
Speaking outside the Malindi Law Courts, Mr Amana, who vied for the seat on an ODM party ticket, welcomed his court victory and urged residents to promote peace as they prepare for a repeat election.
“Lamu is faced with insecurity problems posed by Al-Shabaab terrorists and it will not be logical if we fight amongst ourselves instead of fighting terrorists together,” he said.