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Wanjohi becomes first MP to lose seat in Nairobi

Mathare MP George Wanjohi has lost his seat after the Court of Appeal nullified his election on Tuesday.

He becomes the first MP from Nairobi to lose his seat since the March 4 General Election.

A three-judge bench ruled that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) committed an electoral offence and sustained an illegality when it recalled and cancelled the victory certificate it had earlier issued to Mr Wanjohi’s opponent, Stephen Kariuki of ODM. 

The judges further ordered that fresh elections for Mathare Constituency be held. Mr Wanjohi was directed to pay Sh1.5 million arising from the litigation, both at the High Court during the petition and against the appeal proceedings that ended on Tuesday.

They criticised the recall of the certificate that had been issued to Mr Kariuki after he was announced winner, saying “the moment the Returning Officer issued Form 38 and the accompanying certificate, his powers ceased in law and in recalling the documents he had gone against the statutes of electoral provisions.”

“It was wrong for the returning officer to recall the certificate…he had no legal mandate to do so,” the judges, led by Justice Steven Gatembu said. 

The judges also criticised a judgement delivered on September 13 at the High Court that handed Mr Wanjohi the win, saying their colleagues had “erred” in declaring that an election official had the power to cancel a certificate.

On the election day, and before the changes, Mr Kariuki been declared the winner with 34,076 votes against Mr Wanjohi’s 32,156 votes, but matters turned against him three days later when the IEBC, through a letter, summoned Kariuki to surrender his victory certificate for cancellation, saying it had been issued “erroneously.”

“The petitioner, being aggrieved by the outcome then moved to the High Court seeking to be declared validly elected and sought that IEBC be directed to gazette him as such,” the judges said.

The IEBC official results gazetted after the returning officer detected an error showed Mr Wanjohi got 27, 262 votes while his rival garnered 26, 916.

However, on Tuesday the appellate court said a close scrutiny of the elections results which they conducted showed glaring irregularities and “it was difficult to ascertain who indeed won the March 4 elections.”