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Vote recount begins in Awiti poll petition

George Odiwuor @PeopleDailyKe

Vote scrutiny and recount in Homa Bay county election petion kicked off yesterday amid disruptions as lawyers differed over the number of polling stations targeted for the exercise.

Last month, the Homa Bay Election Court judge Joseph Karanja ordered a vote recount in a case in which former Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga is challenging Governor Cyprian Awiti’s re-election. The exercise presided over by Homa Bay Deputy Registrar Lester Simiyu was delayed for more than five hours following the confusion.

Magwanga’s lawyer Humphrey Obach argued that the exercise was to take place in more than 400 polling stations while Governor Awiti’s lawyers Emmanuel Awiti and Steve Biko said the judge ordered a recount in only 81 stations.

“We will seek the judge’s interpretation on Wednesday so that he can clarify the order for all parties to understand it well. We are dissatisfied with the 81 polling stations,” said Obach.

The parties agreed to seek Justice Karanja’s intervention tomorrow, although the exercise kicked off for 81 polling stations at Homa Bay court.

“I am not aware of how the 400 polling stations came into this matter. I know of just 81 stations,” said lawyer Awiti. The exercise kicked off with polling stations in Ndhiwa constituency. Simiyu said the point of reference for deciding on validity of ballot papers were serial numbers and watermarks.

“Any ballot paper without the two security features will not be considered as a vote in the exercise,” said the registrar. The recount is scheduled to run up to January 19 and a report presented to court before the January 24.

“The scrutiny is meant to validate or invalidate the results as presented by IEBC to court,” Justice Karanja said. Magwanga, who unsuccessfully competed against Mr Awiti in August 2017 polls, is challenging the governor’s win over claims of voter bribery.

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