Court nullifies Keter’s election

Oliver Musembi, Clement Kamau, Willy Mwangi, Roberto Muyela and Mathew Ndung’u @PeopleDailyKe

The hammer fell hard in electoral petition courts yesterday as controversial Nandi Hills legislator Alfred Keter and his two colleagues lost their seats.

The High Court, in separate stations, ruled that their elections were marred by varied malpractices and gave them marching orders. Gatundu North MP Anne Wanjiku Kibe and her Ugenya counterpart Chris Karan lost their seats due to what the courts termed electoral malpractices.

On Tuesday, the third casualty was Kangogo Bowen of Marakwet East who, like Keter, had asserted himself as a rebel within Jubilee. Lamu West MP Stanley Muthama also had his election nullified on Wednesday.

Keter and Bowen have been a thorn in the flesh of Jubilee, disobeying decisions made at Parliamentary Group meetings and testing the party’s cohesion in the North Rift where they had been seen to look down upon Deputy President William Ruto.

Jubilee may not shed tears for the two MPs who had been accused of rebelling with an agenda to undermine Ruto’s authority in the region. Eldoret High Court Judge Kanyi Kimondo nullified the election of the fire-breathing Keter, citing massive illegalities and irregularities during August 2017 polls.

It comes barely a fortnight after Keter was arrested for allegedly presenting fake Treasury Bills worth Sh633 million for payment at the Central Bank of Kenya.

Keter’s woes seem to have worsened after the court found that he was not validly elected and ordered him to pay Sh1 million in litigation fees. Petitioner Bernard Kitur had accused IEBC of colluding with Keter to rig him out, claims the later refuted.

Keter was also recently removed by Jubilee MPs as the Labour Committee chairman in Parliament, after he adamantly refused to step down. Kitur, who came fifth in the election, claimed the election was marred with massive cases of voter bribery, irregularities and electoral malpractices, which undermined the entire process.

“There is enough evidence as highlighted by the petitioner to the effect that Keter failed to honour his campaign schedule of political meetings and also massive irregularities during the election,” ruled Kimondo.

Addressing his supporters in Eldoret town, Keter asked them to remain calm and wait for his next course of action after consulting his lawyers. Nullifying Kibe’s election, Kaimbu High Court Judge Joel Ngugi accused IEBC officials of failure to comply with electoral law and conduct a free and fair election.

The court, however, absolved the incumbent of wrong-doing and ordered that IEBC, which the judge declared was responsible for the nullification, meet her legal costs amounting to Sh3 million.

The electoral body was also ordered to pay the petitioner, former Gatundu North MP Clement Waibara, Sh1.5 million in legal fees. Kibe is out of the country, but through her lawyer Jesse Oduor, said she would appeal.

The High Court in Kisumu nullified Karan’s election barely two weeks after a court in Homa Bay nullified the election of governor Cyprian Awiti after a successful petition filed by former Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga.

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