High Court nullifies Martin Wambora’s election as Embu Governor
Embu Governor Martin Wambora become the third county chief to lose his seat after the High Court Thursday ruled that his election was marred by irregularities.
In a tension filled court, Justice William Musyoka said a recount and scrutiny of the votes unearthed various irregularities which cast the August 8 gubernatorial contest in doubt.
He said though the petitioner, former Senator Lenny Kivuti, had not applied for nullification of the election, the court was duty bound to call for it after the anomalies were detected after the recount and scrutiny.
Justice Musyoka said that in some polling stations, the number of votes cast exceeded what was captured in counterfoils, while ballot for 26 polling stations did not have forms 37A.
The judge said the recount unearthed 165 extra votes which could not be of benefit to anyone, thereby creating uncertainty over the correct number of votes cast.
He urged Senate speaker to announce the sit vacant and call for fresh election date.
The judge however absolved Mr Wambora of any doubt saying the irregularities was linked to the polls officials who were either tired during tallying of votes or were careless.
The judgment sparked wild celebrations among Mr Kivuti supporters, while Mr Wambora said he would appeal the court’s decision.
Mr Wambora became the first governor to be impeached when in 2014, he faced twin impeachments following a fallout with county politicians.
The impeachments were however overturned by the court, a move that won him the title of governor with the proverbial nine lives.
Unlike the previous term, Mr Wambora currently enjoys overwhelming support from the Senator Njeru Ndwiga, MPs John Muchiri (Manyatta) and his Runyenjes counterpart Eric Muchangi, Embu County Assembly Speaker Josiah Thiriku, his protégé and over half the 33 MCAs.
He has also been enjoying a cordial working relationship with Deputy Governor David Kariuki, whom he has allocated supervisory role in the executive.
Between 2013 and 2017, Mr Wambora had a frosty working relationship with his deputy Dorothy Nditi, who was sidelined from the running of the county affairs.
Mr Kivuti also enjoys massive support especially from his Mbeere backyard, a fact compounded by Mr Wambora’s appointment to key posts of people from Embu community.
Mr Kivuti, 67, served as Runyenjes MP from 2003-2007 during the Narc regime, before losing the polls to Cecily Mbarire.