Election petition pretrial hearing to be held next week

Pre-trial hearing for the Embu governor’s election petition will start next week, after the court gave respondents time to file further affidavits.

Justice William Musyoka set the hearing on October 18, after all affidavits are filed and respondents supplied with a list of witnesses by the petitioner for the case.

The petition was filed by former Embu Senator Lenny Kivuti who lost to Governor Martin Wambora, and it seeks a recount and re-tallying of the county’s gubernatorial votes.

Through lawyers Kithinji Marete representing Wambora and Mwangi Kibicho of IEBC, the respondents sought for more time to file the affidavits by Thursday , before pretrial begins.

This is after lawyer Tom Ojienda representing Kivuti requested the court to begin hearing immediately to pave way for release of KIEMs kits needed for the presidential repeat polls.

Ojienda argued that the case was dragging given it was the first election petition in the country and thus should be expedited.

He said the number of witnesses by the petitioner had been scaled down from 32 to 12 to reduce the hearing period, and that they were ready for cross-examination anytime.

The petitioner has trimmed the number of the witnesses to 12, and are ready anytime and therefore I pray that hearing begin as soon as today. I don’t understand why we are wasting a lot of time in this case, said Ojienda.

His application was opposed by Marete and Kibicho who argued the case should be presented in an orderly manner after they present their new applications.

We cannot start the hearing when pretrial has not yet began. We need time for new applications as well as study the list of witnesses, said Marete.

In the case, IEBC Embu County returning officer, Wambora and Deputy Governor David Kariuki are the first, second, third and fourth respondents respectively.

Ojienda also applied for the case be heard daily or speedy realisation of justice.

He also pleaded that the case be heard in Nairobi given that the lands tribunal room that had been allocated for hearing was too small, insecure and ‘uninhabitable’.

Justice Musyoka explained it was better for the case to be heard in such a condition so as to compel JSC to fast track the completion of a four storey court block.

Wambora won with 97,760 against Kivuti who got 96, 775.

Source: Kenya News Agency