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Win for Mwashetani as court nullifies Lunga Lunga by election

27 November 2013, 18:59 Bob Ndwiga

Mombasa - Lunga Lunga MP Khatib Mwashetani is back in Parliament after the court of appeal sitting in Malindi declared the March 2013 election in which he prevailed as free and fair.

The decision thus means that the by election which was set for December 2, 2013 will not be held.

The court declared Mwashetani the duly elected MP for Lunga Lunga and ordered that the elections certificate earlier withdrawn from him be returned.

Mwashetani broke down in tears of joy as soon as the court of appeal Judge Hannah Okwengu declared the earlier judgement by the Mombasa High Court null and void.

The case was heard by three appellate judges Okwengu, Milton Makhandia and Fatuma Sichale. Justice Okwengu’s counterparts were not in court as the judgement was read.

“The appeal by Mr. Khatib  Mwasheteni is allowed and the order by the trial judge set aside. This court declares the appellant as the duly elected MP for Lunga Lunga” declared Justice Okwengu.

She further ordered that the costs of the case will be met by the first and second respondents in a manner to be determined by the registrar of the high court.

Mr  Mwashetani  lost his seat  on September  26  2013 after the High Court in Mombasa nullified his election his over what was termed as poll irregularities.

The trial Judge Vincent Odunga had ruled that there were irregularities that compromised the credibility of the poll.

But the court of appeal declared that after studying the various submissions from the respondents - it had emerged that no anomalies had been noted or identified during the election.

The court of appeal found  the trial judge to have been wrong in his findings and declared that no offense had been committed during the polls.

Relating to claims by the respondents that there was undue influence and improper interests during the elections, the judges said that improper intent did not have any legal basis.

Most of the issues raised, the judge read were merely related to fact and not law.

The MP expressed delight that the court of appeal had respected the decision of the people of Lunga Lunga who made their choice in the ballot boxes on March 4 elections.

“I appreciate the decision by the court of appeal. This will give me the chance to serve the people of Lunga Lunga with vigour and dedication” said Mr. Mwashetani as he celebrated with his supporters outside  the Malindi Courts.

The MP called for unity in Lunga Lunga and the whole Coastal region, noting that the legal battle had wasted almost a year and noted that time had come to unite and recover and serve the people.

Mwashetani expressed appreciation for the support he had continued to receive from his people in Lunga Lunga as well as the Cord coalition through which he first won the Lunga Lunga seat.

Mwashetani lost his seat after a successful petition filed by Gideon Mwangangi and Hassan Charo on behalf of TNA’s Benson Mutisya.

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