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Gachagua: My election was valid

09 August 2013, 13:11 Wangui Joseph

Nyeri governor Nderitu Gachagua has maintained that he was validly elected and the will of the people prevailed.

Gachagua said a petition challenging his election should be dismissed and the petitioner, Thuo Mathenge to bear the costs.

Through his lawyer Njoroge Regeru, Gachagua said he garnered more than 42 per cent of the total votes cast compared to the petitioner who came a distant third but complained he lost due to his running mate’s name misprint in the ballot paper.

Thuo had claimed that there was collusion between Gachagua and the electoral commission to bring out the error in bid of spoiling his strong holds.

During the March elections, Thuo was surprised to find in the ballot paper new names, Geoffrey Gitonga Ndegwa other than which he had submitted, Geoffrey Kamau Kibui.

He said the error caused him to lose mostly in Mathira constituency where he perceived as a strong hold since he had picked a running mate from the constituency which is highly populated.

Through lawyer Kioko Kilukumi, Thuo said his running mate’s names (Geoffrey Kamau Kibui) were submitted electronically to the Nairobi office but can not explain what transpired thereafter.

He said according to the Returning Officer, Peter Wanjohi’s evidence there can be a conclusion that there was a deliberate substitution of names.

The electoral commission has so far remained silent over the issue and has failed to explain how a different name ended up on the ballot paper, according to Thuo claiming the error was done to assist one candidate. “There was mischievous substitution of names,” Thuo said.

However, Gachagua dismissed the claim saying Thuo should only blame himself and not any other person or institution.

He said there is no any documentary evidence to show that Thuo had nominated Geoffrey Kamau Kibui as his running mate but was just physically presented to electorates during nominations.

“Thuo introduced his running mate with multiple names and he was out of order for conducting himself that way during campaigns,” said Gachgua.

He added that an ordinary voter makes his choice earlier even before the polling day so the name misprint did not change voters’ decision in any way.

Gachagua argued that voters would have given the petitioner sympathy votes but they instead protested. “The petitioner has a burden of proving that the will of the majority did not prevail but ultimately the results ought to be confirmed because the exercise was free and fair,” said Gachagua.

He said Thuo did not take the error seriously because he would have reacted to the gazette notice that was published prior to elections and it would have been rectified.

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