The Embakasi East Member of Parliament Babu Owino has suffered a blow following a Nairobi High Court’s order to recount and scrutinize votes in a petition challenging his victory as the member of Parliament. Apparently, the decision by the court to carry out a recount of votes in the entire constituency, is a move that puts Babu Owino’s August 8 win at stake.
Justice Joseph Sergon made the order in a case in which Babu Owino’s win is being challenged by his close opponent Francis Mureithi saying that he was satisfied that Mureithi had given sufficient reasons to warrant a recount. On the same note the judge gave a directive that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) should avail Ballot boxes and election forms in question to the deputy registrar of the high court within two days.
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During the hearing of the case in December 2017, the Embakasi East Returning Officer, Nicholas Kipkorir Butuk, told the court that at the final stage of tallying, he was under pressure from Babu Owino since he had misplaced Form 35C which he was supposed to fill and declare the winner. He, however, went ahead to declare Babu the winner without the document. “During the final stage of the tallying process, I realized that form 35C which is used to declare the winner, was missing. I had to look for it first but Babu Owino got impatient and went crazy. I was under pressure but I would not have announced different results because he was still the winner from the results we tallied,” Butuk said.
Additionally, Butuk who was testifying before Justice Joseph Sergon, said that he realized there was a tallying error after declaring Babu Owino winner of the parliamentary election thus could not rectify the error. He however went ahead and clarified that the error could not have changed the outcome of the election, adding that it only affected the last four out of the ten candidates who were in the race for the Embakasi East parliamentary seat.
The case will be mentioned on February 26 to determine the outcome of the scrutiny and recount of the votes.