- A petition seeking to nullify the election of Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua was on Tuesday dealt a major blow after a lawyer disowned the petitioner’s affidavits.
- Through a letter to Justice Aggrey Muchelule, lawyer Ham Lang’at denied the affidavits presented to the court by former Kathiani MP Wavinya Ndeti.
By Wambui Pauline
A petition by former Kathiani Member of Parliament Wavinya Ndeti seeking to nullify election of Machakos county Governor Alfred Mutua has suffered a serious setback.
In a letter presented by Dr. Mutua’s lawyer Ben Musau to Justice Aggrey Muchelule, Ham Lagat declared the three signatures in Ms. Ndeti’s affidavits were not his as claimed.
“It is not my deed, I did not commission the documents and none of the deponents appeared before me for commissioning of any affidavit,” read Lang’at’s letter.
The letter addressed to Mutua’s lawyers, Nyamu & Company Advocates, said no one appeared before Mr. Lagat to have the affidavits commissioned.
“I further wish to state that I have never commissioned an affidavit in respect to the above petition, including the supporting affidavit of the petitioner,” Lagat said in the letter.
During the cross-examination, the petitioner, who appeared as the first witness in her own case, was put to task to explain why affidavits were having different shapes of signatures of the commissioner of oaths.
It is then that Governor Mutua’s lawyer, B.N Musau dropped a bombshell in court when he presented Lang’at’s letter of denial to Justice Aggrey Muchelule, insisting that Wavinya had violated the law.
It occurred to the court that in some incidences the commissioner’s stamp bore different names with Wavinya not able to disclose the lawyer’s whereabouts.
IEBC, also a respondent to the petition, through lawyer Kimani Muhoro told the court; “It is a very serious violation of the law if deemed true, it amounts to striking off of this petition.”
Nevertheless Wavinya’s lawyer, Martin Gitonga, argued that raising the issue in the midst of a trial in itself is not right.
“The interactory application ought to have been raised during pre-trial, it is unfortunate and they should have raised a formal application, not in the bar,” said Gitonga.
The judge directed Mutua’s lawyers to file a written application on Lang’at’s affidavit before close of business on Wednesday, so that the petitioner can file a response within 24 hours.
He asserted that the matter is serious and criminal which could have damaging implications on the petition.
Nevertheless Ndeit’s lawyers, led by Martin Gitonga, termed the letter an attempt by Mutua to delay the hearing of the petition. They asked the court to order Mutua’s lawyers to file an application within 12 hours.
The development saw the judge adjourning the hearing for 15 minutes before his ruling.
Profound consequences Justice Muchelule termed the matter “very serious” and said if proved, then it would be a crime and would have far-reaching implications on the petition. He said the petition could not stand without a supporting affidavit duly executed and as such, the development could have profound consequences on the case.
Muchelule however allowed the case to proceed with Ndeti taking to the witness stand. She was cross-examined by Mutua’s lawyers, who tore into some of the claims she presented in court.
During the cross-examination, Ndeti confessed that she did not have evidence to support allegations that Mutua used county government staff as polling agents.
“I have been advised by my lawyers that a public officer should not play a role in politics. The law is very clear on that. It is part of my evidence that some county officials were used as agents by the third respondent,” said Ndeti, who was the Wiper party candidate for the governorship election.
As previously reported by watchtower.co.ke, Wavinya, who vied on Wiper ticket, believes that Mutua, leader of Maendeleo Chap Chap party (MCC), stole her victory in the August 8 general elections.
According to the results that were announced by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the petitioner garnered 209, 233 votes, whereas Mutua received 249,954 votes.