IEBC slaps Lusaka with steep fine over poll violence

Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka before Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Electoral Code of Conduct Enforcement Committee.(Photo: David Njaaga/Standard)

Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka was Thursday ordered to pay a fine Sh1 million for breaching the electoral code of conduct.

The Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) also directed his opponent Wafula Wangamati to pay a similar amount over the violence that was witnessed in Bungoma town after the two submitted their nomination papers.

IEBC’s Electoral Code of Conduct Enforcement Committee found the two leaders culpable of violating the code of conduct.

The committee, led by IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati, also fined Netto Adhola, an independent candidate for the Rarieda Parliamentary seat, Sh250,000 after his rival Erick Onyango of ODM accused him of masquerading as a member of the Orange party.

Mr Lusaka had petitioned IEBC to punish Mr Wangamati, accusing him and his supporters of attacking his convoy in Bungoma town on June 2 and being behind the violence, which left one dead.

But the committee in its ruling faulted and punished both candidates in equal measure.

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“A careful appraisal of the events on the June, 2, revealed that both parties abdicated their key duty of ensuring that the electoral code of conduct is adhered to. If any party wished to avoid violence on that day, they would have simply avoided a clash by walking away,” said the judgment read by IEBC Vice Chairperson Consolata Maina.

“Two wrongs do not make a right. It is certain that the clash was a case of show of might to the detriment of free, fair and peaceful campaigns and elections. Both parties are culpable and should each pay a fine of Sh1 million within 24 hours or stand disqualified,” ruled Maina.

The IEBC committee in the case against Mr Adhola found him guilty of passing himself off as an ODM candidate despite being an independent, by using the pictures of NASA flag-bearer Raila Odinga and the Orange party colours.

This was after his accuser Mr Onyango successfully convinced the committee that his use of the party colours and Raila’s image in his posters, banners and other campaign materials was detrimental to his political bid in the rural constituency.

“The accused is in violation of the electoral code of conduct. Mr Adhola should desist henceforth from branding himself in ODM colours and also desist from branding his campaign materials and regalia with images of the ODM party leader and officials,” said IEBC commissioner Abdi Guliye.

Prof Guliye added: “This committee further directs the accused to remove all posters and campaign materials bearing ODM colours and images of the ODM party leader and officials. The accused should pay Sh250,000. Failure to adhere to any of the orders he shall be disqualified from the elections.”

However, the IEBC disciplinary team dismissed a case against ODM Starehe aspirant Steve Mbogo and another between two aspirants for the Mountain View Ward seat, in Westlands Constituency, for lack of evidence.

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Thomas Makori, a Starehe parliamentary hopeful who accused Mr Mbogo of destroying his campaign materials had asked IEBC to compel Mbogo to apologise and compensate him for damages caused by destruction of his posters.

The committee will today give a verdict on the remaining three cases, including a complaint lodged by Kibwezi East MP Jessica Mbalu against her Jubilee rival Philip Kaloki.

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