Kenya opposition banks on poll petitions to increase numbers

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Kenya’s opposition coalition, National Super Alliance, is hoping to boost its numbers in the national parliament and county governments through election petitions, which affiliate parties have filed in its strongholds.

According to the coalition, petitions challenging the results of 58 electoral positions have been identified as a possible avenue into boosting the numbers of its governors, Members of Parliament and Members of County Assemblies.

The coalition said it is confident that the courts will invalidate results of seats that the Jubilee Party or Jubilee-leaning parties won in Nasa strongholds — Kakamega, Machakos, Bungoma, Kisii, Nyamira and Kajiado counties.

The coalition is also combining forces to claim more seats in north-eastern Kenya, mainly in Garissa and Wajir counties.

This means that Nasa is eyeing at least 28 parliamentary seats, which Jubilee claimed in its strongholds. This could bring its numbers in National Assembly to at least 164 from 136 and reduce Jubilee’s from 213 to 185 if it wins all petitions.

“We have filed 58 petitions where we strongly believed that there were computer-generated leaders,” Norman Magaya, head of Nasa secretariat, told The EastAfrican.

The opposition has also nine of the 31 petitions challenging elections of governors across the country.

President Uhuru Kenyatta raised a political storm when he warned that, should Nasa leader Raila Odinga emerge victorious in the fresh presidential election, he would rule for only two to three months before he contends with a Jubilee MP-sponsored impeachment motion.

President Kenyatta said Jubilee Party enjoys majority in both Houses, and only needs an additional 17 MPs to meet the requisite two-thirds majority for such a move.

However, the opposition says it will, within the next six months, deny Jubilee the majority it enjoys.

The legal team led by Siaya Senator James Orengo, which won the presidential election petition in the Supreme Court, is working with Nasa affiliates to provide the expertise and evidence needed to win at least 58 petitions.

According to the Judiciary, 31 governors, 15 senators, 12 woman representatives, 98 Members of Parliament and 129 Members of County Assemblies will spend the next six months before the courts defending their election.

Beating the odds

The Nasa legal team will represent Ms Wavinya Ndeti, who is challenging Alfred Mutua’s re-election as Machakos governor.

Other areas of interest are Kajiado, Kisii, Nyamira, Narok, Kakamega, Bungoma and Nairobi counties, where Jubilee beat the odds to win parliamentary seats.

Majority Leader in parliament Aden Duale is among key Jubilee leaders whose victories have been challenged in court.

According to the law, the 277 petitions must be dispensed with within six months after their filing, which must be done 28 days after declaration of results. In June, Chief Justice David Maraga gazetted new rules and charges replacing the Elections (Parliamentary and County Elections) Petition Rules, 2013.

In 2013 general election, 188 petitions were filed but 25 were struck out on technical grounds, with only one governor losing his seat.

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