ELECTION WITCHCRAFT ALLEGATIONS
Forget the Russians being involved, of servers being hacked, or indeed just out-and-out bribery, in Kenya election petitions can take on a far more sinister, even spooky dimension.
Election petitions aiming at overturning a result from an election are commonplace here. Only in the last few days the High Court has ordered a recount in the constituency of Embakasi East (results did not tally with the official forms); dismissed a case against Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong through lack of evidence; and dismissed an attempt to rescind the election of Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua over alleged “irregularities” in voting at the August 2017 election.
Mbeere South MP Geoffrey King’ang’i however, has just survived an altogether more unusual challenge to his election.
ALLEGATION: BULL SLAUGHTERED AT RITUAL
On Thursday a court dismissed a petition against Mbeere that had sought to declare his election null and void on the grounds that he, allegedly, had used witchcraft to secure to gain his democratic victory.
A witness by the name of Kevin Murimi alleged that Mbeere had employed the services of two witch doctors to oversee a ritual to influence 3,000 voters.
Murimi alleged that the witch doctors had slaughtered a bull and fed the assembled voters raw meat (plus given them Sh500 each) whilst warning them that if they did not vote for Mr Mbeere thEY would suffer the most terrible (but unspecified) calamities.
Judge Robert Limo, however, dismissed the petition, declaring that the petitioner, a Mr Kamau Nyutu, had not proven his allegations and that the witness Murimi could not name anyone at the meeting.
Mr Murimi had told the court that he wasn’t influenced by the witchcraft because he hadn’t eaten the meat and anyway he had left the meeting early.
Justice appears to have been done. The question is, how on earth, in 2018, did such an allegation ever come to court!