Friday, July 30, 2010

Bishop Wanjiru looses starehe seat

Housing Assistant Minister Bishop Margaret Wanjiru has lost her Starehe constituency seat through an order of the High Court.

The MP now becomes the seventh legislator to lose their parliamentary seat through an election petition after their challengers succeeded in the High Court.

Justice Kihara Kariuki ruled on Friday that Bishop Wanjiru was not validly elected in the exercise that was marred by violence and other election malpractises.

Former area MP Maina Kamanda filed the petition against Bishop Wanjiru who had floored him by 895 votes in the flawed 2007 General Election.

Six other MPs underwent a similar fate when the High Court nullified their election.

Mr Kamanda’s petition is a unique one since he had wanted to be declared a winner and his name substituted with that of Bishop Wanjiru. Mr Kamanda had emerged the winner with 49,306 votes while Bishop Wanjiru got 34,871, a difference of 14,435.

Mr Kamanda who disputed Bishop Wanjiru’s election filed the petition in February 2008 and urged the court to declare him the elected MP for Starehe.

He relied on Section 27(2) of the National Assembly and Presidential Elections Act. The section allows the Speaker to make changes should the court so declare.

However, Justice Kariuki declined to declare Mr Kamanda as the MP, saying the 2007 poll contained too many irregularities and as such only a by-election would be sufficient to settle the leadership dispute.

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