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Kenya: Supreme Court upholds Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi’s election

The long Wajir governor battle ended on Friday afternoon with the Supreme Court upholding the election of Mr Mohamed Abdi Mohamud.

Mr Mohamud’s fight began at the High Court and proceeded to the Court of Appeal, which upheld the lower court’s nullification of his election.

He then turned to the apex court, which granted him the chance to prove he held a degree in business management and a master’s degree from Kampala University.

DISSENT

In the ruling on Friday, Chief Justice David Maraga and justice Isaac Lenaola dissented while Smokin Wanjala, Njoki Ndung’u, Jackton Ojwang and Mohammed Ibrahim ruled in the governor’s favour.

While detailing the judgment, Mr Maraga noted Mr Mohamud’s appeal lacked merit and that he would have dismissed it, but that the majority held a different opinion.

He said that in his view, the High Court was right in nullifying his election because he was not qualified and because of irregularities.

MAJORITY

The judges in the majority decision explained that a complaint was filed against the governor because he was not qualified.

However, they noted, complainant Mohamed Abdile did not pursue the case so the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission dismissed it.

The four judges also noted that the county chief’s two rivals – former Governor Ahmed Abdullahi and Ahmed Muhumed Abdi -waited until they had lost the seat to pursue the matter.

They said the two chose not to challenge the decision in the appropriate forum.

Earlier, lawyer Fred Ngatia, for Mr Mohamud, took issue with his main rival, saying he did not challenge the matter before the election, only to raise it after losing the seat.

“Why didn’t they raise the issue for five years, only to bring it up after losing the election?” Mr Ngatia said.

He also argued that a degree or lack of it could not be used to invalidate an election.

CONTROVERSY

The top court had been on the spot over the delay in the delivery of the decision, the case having gone on for more than a year.

The petition was the only remaining one at the court.

Mr Mohamud defeated his closest rival, Mr Abdullahi, while Mr Muhumed (Party of Development and Reforms) emerged third in what was seen as the most competitive contest in the county’s history.

The Supreme Court dismissed the allegations against it as inaccurate.

By Daily Nation

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