The High Court in Nairobi has nullified the election of Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi over irregularities.
The court ruled that Abdi was not validly cleared to run for office and has directed that a fresh election be conducted in the county.
“Accordingly I make a finding that as at 8th August 2017, the Ist respondent-governor Muhammed Abdi Mahamud did not have the academic qualifications to vie for position of governor. He was therefore not legally cleared to vie for that position as he did not satisfy the provisions of section 22 (2) of the Election act, “ruled Justice Fred Mabeya.
In a petition filed by Ahmed Abdullahi, the court further noted that Muhamud did not hold a degree as required.
Further, the court observed that there were irregularities with some of the ballot boxes from polling stations having been re-opened after they had already been sealed.
“Because of the irregularities committed by IEBC, the elections could not be verified, from the irregularities committed by IEBC cannot be said to have conducted the elections competently and efficiently,”said Mabeya.
The court also noted that the principles of the secrecy of the ballot were breached and that the record of the election through the prescribed forms 37 A, 37B and 37 C was neither accountable nor credible.
Muhamud was a no show at the court hence failed to dispel claims the he did not have a degree.
He said coming to court for cross examination was a good chance for him to rebut the allegations.
Justice Mabeya added that it was doubtful that the governor would have obtained a masters degree from Kampala University within six months.
The judge said a letter from Commission of University Education showing that the university was recognised by the commission was not enough.
On irregularities, the judge faulted the returning officer for opening ballot boxes which had already been sealed contrary to the law.
The court noted that a huge number of voters in Wajir were illiterate and were assisted to vote.
Justice Mabeya further said that scrutiny confirmed that many forms were not genuine because they did not either have watermarks or were either photocopies or printouts.
He faulted the election commission for failing to produce the original forms.
The court ordered a by-election to be held in accordance with the constitution and electoral laws.
Abdi becomes the first governor to lose his seat, following the petition that was filed by his predecessor Ahmed Abdullahi of the Orange Democratic Movement party.