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Court dismisses witchcraft claims in Nithi's gubernatorial petition

08 April 2014, 13:33 Joseph Njung’eh

Nyeri - Tharaka-Nithi governor, Samuel Ragwa Mbae on Tuesday had a sigh of relief after the court of appeal sitting in Nyeri dismissed a poll petition challenging his election.

Court of appeal judges Martha Koome, Alnasir Visram and Otieno Odek ruled that Ragwa was fairly elected.

The petition was filed by a gubernatorial poll loser in the area, M’nkiria Petkay Shen Miriti contending that Ragwa's election was marred with electoral malpractices.

On the contrary, Miriti told the court in his submissions that he ought to have been declared the duly elected governor of Tharaka Nithi.

During the elections, Miriti garnered 54 813 votes against Ragwa’s 70 088 votes.

He was challenging the elections on grounds that Ragwa used witchcraft to influence voters.

He stated that Ragwa visited a witchdoctor to procure the treatment of monies through culturally unacceptable ways with a view to confuse and trick voters who received the moneys into voting for him.

During the proceedings, the petitioner adduced a witness, Njeru Nkoroi who told court that he was a witchdoctor and that he conducted rituals on Ragwa on the night of February 17, 2013 at his house in Chuka-Igambang’ombe after Ragwa held a campaign rally in Chuka town.

Njeru said Ragwa was in the company his aide and campaign manager, Gitonga Mbaka at the event.

According to Njeru, Ragwa wanted some money 'treated' so that anyone who handled the money or shook his hands would turn to be his supporter.

However, the court while delivering the judgment noted that the petitioner’s claims of witchcraft required nervousness and were mere speculative.

The court further said that the petition had no merit and therefore dismissed with costs.

A similar judgment on the petition had been delivered by Meru High Court Judge, Lady justice Jesse Lessit in September, 2013.

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