Poll petitions turn ugly as witchcraft claims surface
As hearing of election petitions filed after 2017 polls concludes in a few days, many will remember the dramatic twists and turns that defined the courtroom battles.
The cases were marked with bloated fees, winding legalese and peppered narrations on the involvement of witchcraft in seeking public office.
In a much publicised case involving former Olposimoru MCA Wilson Masikonde, of Jubilee, he wanted the victory of ODM’s Kikaet Kuyo overturned, claiming Kuyo solicited for four wizards who slaughtered a colobus monkey and spread its intestines in polling stations to confuse his supporters.
The details of witchcraft in the petition got deeper and darker, including lurid descriptions on how monkey skin was tied on Kuyo’s waist to attract voters. “As a result of the ‘juju’, I mysteriously lost all contacts in my phone book and was unable to contact my agents,” Mr Masikonde said in his petition.
In another petition filed by former Meru Governor Peter Munya against Kiraitu Murungi, Munya claimed Kiraitu used services of witchdoctor James Barongo Mugambi also known as Kaana ka Njoka to clinch the seat. Although the former governor later withdrew the case, the story of sneaking a witch doctor into his home continued to haunt Kiraitu.
In previous media interviews, the governor said he often hosts clergy and opinion leaders in his home, and claims of presence of a witch doctor were unfounded and far-fetched.
“Let me clarify that the whole thing was a joke. No serious man can stand before a crowd and confess to being a witch doctor,” he said, answering to accusations by Tigania East MP Mpuru Aburi that the witch doctor had endorsed Kiraitu’s governorship bid.
In Siaya, during the hearing of an election petition against Governor Cornell Rasanga, his lawyer Nicholas Ombija accused the petitioner Eng Nicholas Gumbo of using witchcraft.
Mr Ombija told the court presided over by Justice Esther Maina that Gumbo’s supporters sprinkled strange liquid around the court room and chewed ‘weird’ substances during the hearing.
Justice Maina ordered the witnesses to stop chewing.
In a petition filed by Kamau Nyutu against Mbeere South MP Geoffrey King’ang’i a witness stunned the court by accusing Nyutu of malpractices, among them witch craft.
The witness, kevin Murimi claimed the MP had 3,000 of his supporters gather at his farm, eat raw meat under the watch of witches and swear to vote for him.
Mr King’ang’i denied the allegations saying the witness was being used by the petitioner.
‘Doctor’ Quick Kinyamasyo, a renowned witch doctor in Kitui abhors the idea of witches exposing their clients in public. “I have cleansed a lot of politicians, but I am not supposed to mention their names,” said Kinyamaso.