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IEBC's blunder that could cost Babu Owino his seat

Babu Owino was earlier accused of threatening to kill IEBC official if he failed to declare him winner.

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Mr Nicholas Kipkorir Butuk, the Returning Officer of Embakasi-East Constituency during the August 8 General Election told Milimani Court in Nairobi that there was a great error in the results that were used to declare Babu Owino the winner.

Under duress

The Returning Officer, however, said the errors committed could not have changed outcome of Babu Owino’s election as they could only affect the last four out of ten candidates that were on the ballot.

The IEBC official also revealed that he was working under duress as the Embakasi MP had grown restless and demanded for the results to be released without further delays. He also admitted before court that he misplaced Form 35C, which he was expected to fill before declaring the winner of the parliamentary seat.

On November 28, Mureithi accused Embakasi East MP Babu Owino of threatening a poll officer in the August 8 General Election. He told court that most forms 35B were not signed by returning officers and one could not tell whether they were fake or genuine.

“The number of the people who voted exceeded the number of registered voters,” he said. Appearing before Judge John Sergon, Mr Mureithi told the court that election was marred with irregularities.

He was being cross-examined by both defence and his lawyers. Mureithi said some polling stations like Soweto and Spring Valley Primary schools were marred with violence. He told the court Mr Owino announced himself as winner after he threatened the returning officer.

‘I will kill you’

In November, Babu was thrown in panic by his August 8 rival Francis Mureithi who told a High Court in Nairobi that he intimidated voters and threatened to ‘kill’ IEBC official, if he failed to declare him the winner.

A High Court sitting in Nairobi presided over by Justice Joseph Sergon was told that the Orange Democratic Party lawmaker threatened voters on August 8 and engaged in verbal altercation with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission official.

He allegedly demanded that the IEBC’s Returning Officer in the constituency declare him the winner of the August 8 polls even before the tallying and verification was properly done.

"Babu obviously committed an election offence by declaring himself the winner. He intimidated the returning officer through death threats," Jubilee’s Francis Mureithi who challenged Babu Owino’s victory told the Milimani court.

He added: "Mimi nimeshinda Mureithi na lazima nitangazwe mshindi ama nitaua mtu hapa  (I have defeated Mureithi and must be declared winner or else I will kill someone).”

The IEBC Official testified before the court in a petition challenging the election of Embakasi East MP Babu Owino filed by a Jubilee candidate, Mbugua Mureithi.

Mr Mureithi, who got 39,805 votes against Owino's 43,862, earlier pleaded with the court to annul the August 8 polls, arguing that the intimidations that Babu adduced to his supporters violated their absolute rights to vote.

Babu Owino supporters, the petitioner argued, attacked Joseph Obiende, a candidate of the Musalia Mudavadi led Amani National Congress at Lower Savannah Soweto Social hall.

Among other election offences, Babu was allegedly caught bribing voters to change their mind at the last minute, a move which Mr Mureithi quipped that caused the voter difference of less than 4,000.

"Babu was caught on camera bribing voters at Greenspan polling station. The video is in court as evidence," Mureithi told the court in his submission.

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