By Kevin Rop—
News coming out of the corridors of justice seems to have lifted some weight of Babu Owino’s shoulders. The fiery Embakasi East legislator’s August 8 election win had been challenged by Francis Mureithi of Jubilee Party.
Mureithi moved to court to challenge the disputed outcome claiming the process was marred by irregularities and vote inflation in favour of Babu Owino. The proceedings seem to have unsettled the embattled legislator who has recently receded on his usual tough talk. Babu had earlier blamed the Jubilee government of trying to intimidate him with frequent arrests just as vote scrutiny had been ordered by the High Court.
A day before the vote scrutiny began as had been ordered by Justice Sergon, the incumbent Member of Parliament for Embakasi East sensationally claimed that the Jubilee faction had plotted to raid the IEBC warehouse where ballots had been safely kept to tamper with them. Babu claimed through a post on the social media site, Facebook, that Jubilee had plotted to raid the Industrial Area warehouse and stuff the ballot boxes with votes to prove that indeed Babu had not won on August 8.
The deputy registrar filed a report of the vote recount in court after Justice Sergon had ordered a recount of the votes in all the polling stations. Justice Sergon observed that the petitioner had raised sufficient legal grounds to warrant a vote recount in all the polling stations as the Returning Officer for Embakasi East Constituency had admitted that the declared results in Form 35B
The report shows that Hon Babu Owino garnered 46,817 votes against Mureithi’s 42,501 votes in the August elections. While the new tally shows that Babu will retain his seat, the recount shows that both candidates registered an increase in votes.
While the vote scrutiny and recount were hailed as a success, the deputy registrar highlighted one regrettable incident where one of the deputy registrar’s mobile phone was stolen. The court is yet to make a final ruling on the outcome of the case and it is expected that should the outcome be upheld, Francis Mureithi is likely to be slapped with a hefty sum as legal fees for the petition.