The High Court has found the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) National Elections Board chairperson Judith Pareno guilty of contempt for not tallying results in disputed Muhoroni parliamentary primary as instructed.
Before recusing herself from handling the case any further, Lady Justice Jessie Lessit faulted Ms Pareno for failing to observe legal and profession etiquette.
“I recuse myself from dealing with this case. I refer the file to the Chief Justice David Maraga for directions on any further applications,” she said.
The judge gave the direction after lawyer Rogers Sagana, for current Muhoroni MP James K’Oyoo, presented an application to appeal against her ruling whereby she pronounced Prof Ayiecho Olweny the winner and then directed the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to include his name in the list of candidates.
“This court tabulated the results and established that Prof Olweny had won the primary by garnering 23,578 votes while the incumbent MP K’Oyoo had managed to get 13,700 votes,” Justice Lessit ruled.
On June 2, the judge had ordered Ms Pareno to tabulate the results from all the five wards then declare a winner, following the stripping of incumbent James K’Oyoo’ victory and giving the certificate to Prof Olweny.
Although Justice Lessit cancelled the warrant of arrest she had issued against Ms Pareno, she said the order of the court was not implemented as expected despite Ms Pareno being a “lawyer who was entrusted with a public duty of ensuring nominations of candidates for various elective posts were conducted in a free and fair manner”.
She said allegations of corruption were reported during the exercise.
“Ms Pareno, [being] a lawyer who swore to uphold justice, did little to ensure that democratic principals were upheld besides ensuring the law was followed to the letter.”
Mr James Mwamu, Prof Olweny’s lawyer, had argued that the chairperson should be jailed for six months or pay a Sh5 million fine for failing to tally the votes and announcing the winner.
Prof Olweny claimed that Mr K’Oyoo declared himself the winner before the votes were counted.
Mr Mwamu asked the judge to repeat the nomination but the judge directed ODM to tally the votes and announce the winner within 72 hours.
The judge only reprimanded Ms Pareno.