Former assistant minister Bishop Margaret Wanjiru staved off a spirited challenge from Maina Kamanda to regain her Starehe seat in a hotly contested by-election. In other by-elections in the wider Nairobi area Kabogo of Juja beat business tycoon Thuo to win the Juja parliamentary seat while Mbuvi of Makadara beat Reuben Ndolo and immediate former MP Dick Wathika. The three by-elections were occasioned by court rulings that nullified results from the 2007 general election. As is typical of most by-elections, there was very low turnout with only 44%, 43% and 35% of the registering voters bothering to show up in Makadara, Juja and Starehe respectively.
Following a petition by former MP Reuben Ndolo (of the “weka tire” infamy), Lady Justice Kaplana Rawal has nullified the election of Dick Wathika as Makadara MP in the 2007 general elections. Mr. Wathika becomes the 5th sitting MP since the chaotic 2007 vote to lose after an election petition in court. The 2007 elections were marred by irregularities that almost plunged Kenya, previously an oasis of peace in a turbulent part of the Continent, into civil war. 1300 people died before a power-sharing agreement was brokered between incumbent Mwai Kibaki and his challenger Raila Odinga. Given that most Kenyans voted “three piece”, the apparent widespread irregularities at the constituency level must be highly correlated with those of the presidential vote. Neither PNU nor ODM can claim innocence. The real culprit, however, is one Mr. Samuel Kivuitu. The former boss of the electoral commission presided over a sham election with a straight face and got away with it. Shame on him.