Petitioner challenging Wajir Governor’s victory claims IEBC CEO compromised key witness with job offer

By , K24 Digital
On Mon, 14 Nov, 2022 17:44 | 4 mins read
Petitioner challenging Wajir Governor's victory claims IEBC CEO compromised key witness with job offer
Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdulahi (left) with his Deputy Ahmed Muhmed after their victory in the August 2022 polls. PHOTO/Courtesy

The electoral commission Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Marjan Hussein has compromised a key witness in the petition challenging the victory of Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi by offering him a top job at the commission for six months, the High Court heard on Monday, November 14.

Lawyer Issa Mansur, who is representing the petitioner, Hassan Adan Mohammed, told Justice George Nduru that Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) CEO Marjan is defeating justice by inducing witnesses in the petition.

Mansur said one of his key witnesses Abdullahi Muhamed has developed cold feet and declined to appear before the court to give a detailed account of the malpractices that rocked the recent gubernatorial election for Wajir county.

The court heard that Abdullahi was an agent for the petitioner, Hassan, who vied for the county's top job and has filed a damning witness affidavit in the petition.

He claimed the witness had been offered a job as Director of Audit and Compliance at the electoral body.

"IEBC CEO purported to offer this witness( Abdullahi) a job for six months from November 1, 2022, to May 31, 2023, as a Director of Audit and Compliance. That offer was calculated in order the witness does not testify before you," lawyer Mansur said.

While seeking to spill the beans on how IEBC together with its CEO compromised the witness, Mansur said he will file a formal application detailing the issue.

But IEBC, through lawyer Mohat Somane, denied the allegations saying the commission only offers jobs it has advertised and that the claim by the petitioner holds no water.

Somane asked the petitioner to file a formal application over his allegations so that Marjan and the IEBC can respond appropriately.

"IEBC does not give jobs unless a job seeker applies. The commission in this matter umpires and is ready to comply with all regulations and statutory laws laid down. We are confident of what the commission did during the 2022 gubernatorial elections," Somane said.

"The court should not make any negative or positive inference following the allegations made until the petitioner files a formal application."

In a short ruling, Justice Nduru ordered the petitioner who is seeking to overturn the election of governor Abdullahi to file a formal application about the allegations that the CEO IEBC has compromised a witness.

"On the issue raised by Mansur on the employment of one of his client intended witnesses by IEBC, If he wants to pursue that issue he should file a formal application and serve," judged Nduru said.

The judge also declined to block lawyer Mansur from representing the petitioner in the dispute over an alleged conflict of interest.

This is after IEBC and incumbent Wajir Governor Abdullahi applied to have Mansur stopped representing Hassan on allegations that he was a lawyer also representing the commission in other matters.

Somane said that Mansor was representing majority commissioners who dissented in the announcement of the presidential election results.

"Mansour was an advocate acting for the majority of the commissioners in the presidential petition at the Supreme Court. For good order and to avoid conflict of interest Mansour should stop representing the petitioner in this matter. there are so many lawyers in the country the petitioner can hire," Somane said.

The revelations came to the fore during the hearing of the petition challenging the election of  Governor Abdullahi

In the case, the first witness Ibrahim Mohamud Abdurahaman who was a Senate candidate on Kanu ticket in the county took the witness stand narrating how the electoral commission failed to use the KIEMs Kits on the polls day in the strongholds of the elected Governor Abdullahi.

"In the morning the Kiems kits were okay, but later in the day the Kiems Kits were not being used, especially in the constituency that was believed to be the strongholds for the elected governor," the witness told the court.

The witness further revealed that at Kalkach polling center, there was a problem with kiems kit.
He continued to state that the Kiems kits were working in some polling stations but they were not being used by the IEBC officers.

Another witness Hassan Bashir claimed that there were marked ballot papers in favour of Governor Abdullahi.

According to him, some ballot papers were marked at the governor's compound, and the matter was reported to the police.

"People were given double-marked ballot papers for the position of the Governor and Wajir Central constituency. Police officers in some wards failed to provide security, this led to low voter turnout in many of the region," the witness told the court.

The petitioner Hassan is seeking the nullification of the August 9 poll saying the exercise was not free and fair.

Abdullahi was declared the winner of the gubernatorial election after garnering 35,533 against Hassan's 27,224.

But the petitioner alleges the election was not free and fair and did not meet the constitutionally acceptable threshold as it was marred by irregularities and violence. The petitioner says violence in Wajir East on the eve of the elections was orchestrated to suppress the voter turnout in Hassan's constituency.

He adds that there were attacks across Khorof Harar ward that started a day before the elections and stopped after the election.

The violence, he added, hindered voting and led to polling stations being opened late.

Hassan further argues that IEBC did not put mechanisms to ensure that the voters were biometrically identified before being allowed to vote for candidates in a number of polling stations in Wajir County.

"The election for Wajir County Governor was not conducted and carried out in accordance with the provisions of the constitution, Elections Act or the Election general Regulations nor in accordance with principles laid down therein and or any law relating to the conduct of elections and nor in accordance with the decision of the superior court on the conduct and management of elections, consequently the incumbent governor was not validly elected as governor for Wajir County," says petitioner Hassan.

He adds that he does not accept the counting and tallying that was done by the IEBC as the process was married with padding of votes, exaggeration of voter turnouts, irregular and unlawful assisted voting and unlawful ejection of the Petitioner's agreement from several polling stations in Wajir East and Wajir West constituencies.

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