Uhuru’s lawyer fumbles while explaining how President got more votes
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s lawyer found himself in a tight spot during the presidential poll hearing at the Supreme Court – Tom Macharia was put to task to explain why Uhuru received more votes in some areas than other political seats – He fumbled in an attempt to explain what happens to ballot papers which were not marked by voters One of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s lawyer was at pains to explain how some people ended up voting for Uhuru only and not for other candidates contesting for other seats. Tom Macharia was taken to task by two Supreme Court judges to explain ‘stray votes’ during the General Election. ‘Stray votes’ are ballot papers which are correctly marked by a voter but placed in the wrong ballot box, for example a presidential ballot placed in the gubernatorial ballot box.
The stray votes can result to voters voting only for the president and not for any other seat despite the voter being given six ballot papers for all the positions.
Lawyer Macharia was asked by Supreme Court Judge and Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu and her colleague Smokin Wanjala to explain what happens to the blank ballot papers in a situation where a voter only marks the presidential vote ballot paper and ignores the rest. “Where a voter collects the six ballots and you want to vote for only one candidate, where do the other five ballot papers go? It’s a very simple question,” said Justice Mwilu.
Macharia while answering the Judge fumbled with his words saying the regulations said the stray ballots should be kept in separate envelopes. This forced Justice Wanjala to interject and repeat the question to the lawyer who failed to explain the fate of the five unmarked ballot papers. This caused murmurs in court as Macharia consulted with lawyer Fred Ngati forcing the court to call for order.
“Let me explain again as I understand the process…I could allow one of my colleagues from IEBC to explain, they are more conversant with the process,” he finally said in surrender. The IEBC lawyer said the “simple answer” was that unmarked ballot papers are counted as rejected ballots because they do not indicate which candidate the voter wanted to vote for.