Aden Duale worried by poll petition, Maalim wins round 1

Aden Duale worried by poll petition, Maalim wins round 1

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National assembly majority leader Aden Duale is a man under siege. Duale is said to be spending sleepless nights after former national assembly deputy speaker Farah Maalim filed a petition to challenge his election as Garissa Town MP.

“…Duale could influence IEBC to tamper with the records.”

In the petition, Maalim is seeking to overturn Duale’s win on grounds that his election was flawed. In the petition, he alleges that Duale was not validly elected as the poll was marred by massive irregularities.

Maalim therefore wants the court to order the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to avail all voting material including voter registers, counterfoils used for all polling stations, electronic devices and equipment used during the polls.

But what has now sent cold shivers down the spine of Duale who has since the petition was launched has taken a low political profile is an order issued by the High Court last week allowing Maalim to access all information contained in election kits. The court also allowed Maalim to get information contained in the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System kits while at the same time Lady Justice Hedwig Ong’udi directed Maalim to place fresh seals in all the ballot boxes containing election material pending the hearing of the petition from October 16.

Sources say Maalim had pleaded with the court to ensure the election materials and ballot boxes used during the August 8 elections be moved from the IEBC custody to court’s custody fearing that Duale could influence IEBC to tamper with the records.

In his orders, Justice Ong’udi noted that election cases are emotive and all the material must be kept safe to ensure there is no interference whatsoever. Maalim is therefore allowed to put an extra seal on all ballot boxes to safeguard them from any form of interference from IEBC.

During the August 8 elections, Aden Duale was declared the winner by the constituency returning officer Boru Duba after he garnered 22,587 votes against Maalim’s 14,897 votes.  Others in the race were Aden Mohamed Abdullahi, 135, and Abdi Mohamed, 454.

Maalim alleges that Duale’s supporters were allowed to vote more than one time and were not marked with indelible ink or keyed into kits as having voted. He also claims that there were deliberate delays in areas perceived to be his strongholds on election day.

In the petition filed at Milimani High Court, Maalim says that there were massive irregularities in the August 8 elections. He also sought permission to copy the specific GPRS location of each Kiems’ kits used for the Garissa constituency for the period between and including August 5- 11 2017.

Maalim wants court to direct that the respondents in the case, IEBC, Garissa Township returning officer, Aden Duale and county commandant Garissa county jointly and several committed election irregularities.

Similarly, he wants the court to order IEBC to avail all material including voter registers, counterfoils used for all polling stations and electronic devices and equipment for the Garissa Townships parliamentary election within 48 hours.

Maalim claims Duale’s supporters were allowed to vote more than twice and were not marked with indelible ink as they presented their identification thereby not being keyed into kits as having voted thus having voted severally.

He says claims that there was deliberate prolonged delay in areas perceived to be his strongholds on election day causing long queues aimed at denying voters their constitutional rights. The petitioner says that he will show that there were numerous election offences committed contrary to the provisions of the election offences Act.

Maalim further notes that he will demonstrate that IEBC abandoned its constitutional duty to conduct elections in accordance with the constitutional principles of the electoral system including the principle of free and fair elections.

Aden Duale and his legal team is said to be burning the midnight oil putting their defence together in readiness of the full hearing which starts on October 16. The fear is that Maalim had also requested the court to order for retallying and recount of the votes hence orders to Maalim to put an extra seal in all the ballot boxes used during the elections.

The order reads in part: “I direct that all the election materials in the Garissa Town constituency be secured under the watch of the deputy registrar of the High Court Garissa within seven days,” the judge ruled. The judge directed lawyers James Orengo and Daniel Maanzo for Maalim, lawyers Mansur Issa for IEBC and Ahmednassir Abdullahi for Aden Duale to assemble at the Garissa High Court to witness the movement of the ballot materials for safe custody.

Recently, Maalim was allowed to file additional affidavits in the election petition against Duale. Justice Ong’udi allowed their application to file further affidavits in 14 days. This was after Maalim, through his lawyers, told the court the IEBC had not served them with their response.

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