BY SAM ALFAN.
Former Nyaribari Chache Member of Parliament Chris Bichage suffered a major blow after he lost an election petition against his perennial rival and incumbent Richard Tong’i.
The Supreme Court on Friday morning declared that the petition was time-barred and should not have been entertained by the High Court since it was filed on April 16, 2014, beyond the statutory time-lines.
The High Court and Court of Appeal had overturned Dr Bichage’s victory in the 2013 General Election.
The hearing of the petition has been complicated by the filing of two conflicting affidavits sworn by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman, Isaack Hassan and the agency’s head of legal services Mahamud Jabane in response to the 56-ground appeal.
Ironically, during the hearing of the petitions in the High Court and Court of Appeal, the IEBC did not respond to the grievances raised by Dr Bichage, who was initially declared the winner with 11,638 votes against Tong’i’s 10,774 votes.
High Court Judge Edward Muriithi had nullified Dr Bichage’s election on grounds that the validity of the poll was not verifiable due to missing statutory documents and irregularities in three polling stations.
Dr Bichage was aggrieved by the outcome and moved to the Court of Appeal where the decision was upheld. In the subsequent by-election held on December 30, 2013, Tong’i trounced the veteran politician with 10,100 votes against Dr Bichage’s 9,712.
Dr Bichage had complained that the High Court did not have jurisdiction to hear and determine the petition by Mr Tong’i as it was filed outside the mandatory 28 days stipulated by the law.
He claims that the Court of Appeal erred in making a pronouncement instead of a judgment before the by-election was conducted.