Saturday February 3rd, Kitui.
By Brian Peter
War drums are still sounding out loud in Mutonguni Ward, even after the Kitui Magistrates Court made its petition ruling on Wednesday this week. Despite the principle magistrate Munguti ruling that the IEBC certificate should be handed over with immediate effect to the petitioner, Mr. Musee Mati, and the gazette notice that declared Felix Daudi Mbevo as the MCA Mutonguni Ward; both first and second respondents are seemingly not planning to do so without a serious fight.
Both protagonists: Eng. Musee Mati and Felix ‘Baridi’ Mbevo are still locked up in a spirited tussle; with each one insisting they won fairly and squarely, and accusing the other party of attempting to fraudulently influence the legislative position.
The just dethroned MCA, Felix Mbevo, who insists he is still the sitting MCA; has accused the petitioner Musee Mati of having compromised both the Matinyani Tallying Centre deputy Returning Officer, a man he only chose to identify as Elijah, and also bribing the principal magistrate a considerable sum of money to have the ruling made in his favor. Speaking last night in an exclusive interview with the Kitui Newspaper reporter, Mbevo accused Mati of threatening the IEBC officials at the Matinyani Tallying Centre on 10th August 2017. He confided that Mr. Mati and a huge group of his supporters raided the tallying Centre and demanded that the votes be recounted, despite having been present during the actual vote tallying and the certificate awarding the previous day.
On the other hand, the petitioner Mr. Mati has send a strict warning to Mr. Mbevo to desist from using the title Mutonguni MCA any more. Speaking exclusively to the Kitui Newspaper; Mati stated that the court ruling, the subsequent order copied to the Chief Justice, and the notice served to the Speaker of the County Assembly; were all clear that the duly elected Mutonguni ward representative was Mr. Musee Mati and not Mr. Felix Daudi Mbevo. On the allegations of bribing the deputy R.O., Mati defended himself that the he launched a formal complaint on 10th and the Returning Officer, Mr. James Mutua Mbai agreed on his own volition to do the retallying. Mati refuted claims by Mbevo that the recounting was unconstitutional and without the presence of agents. He reiterated that no ballot boxes were reopened, but instead the R.O. used the primary data methods: form 36As.
In a sworn affidavit disclosed to the Kitui newspaper, the Returning Officer Mr. James Mbai admitted that he discovered arithmetic errors after scrutinizing the form 36A and owned up to them as any gentleman would do. He admits writing a letter to Mr. Mbevo later directing him to return the certificate issued to him earlier.
“If Mr. Felix Mbevo does not stop using the Mutonguni Ward MCA title for social and official purposes as he is currently doing, I have instructed my lawyers to file a suit against him for impersonation!” fumed Mr. Mati who is enraged by the dethroned legislator’s continued use of the title.
“Mr. Mati bribed the deputy R.O to draft a letter reversing the win and ordering me to return the certificate awarded to me by IEBC,” lamented the dethroned MCA in response to the origin of the letter. He denies ever being served the purported letter, and points an accusing finger at the deputy returning officer whom he alleges forged the R.O’s signature before handing the letter to Mr. Mati whom he later says approached his lawyer to file the petition.
Mr. Mati however countered that upon Mr. Mbevo’s reluctance to hand back the letter, and his reaction; which he termed as ‘ran away to the coast for three weeks till he was gazetted, the returning officer at Matinyani Tallying Centre advised him to seek court orders to have Mbevo return the certificate.
It has been revealed to the Kitui Newspaper editorial team that Mr. Felix ‘Baridi’ Mbevo has made an application for appeal with costs in a memorandum of appeal DATED AT Kitui on1st February 2018. Sources inside the IEBC also reveal that IEBC is also seriously considering initiating an appeal against the ruling, which ordered the 2nd respondent, IEBC, to pay the petitioner Mr. Mati 1M shillings in compensation.
In the four-page memorandum of appeal drawn by M. M. Kimuli &Co Advocates, Mr. Felix Mbevo has displayed 26 points of dissatisfaction with the ruling made by the principal magistrate, Johnstone Munguti on Wednesday. Mbevo has accused the principle magistrate of presiding over a mistrial, misdirecting himself in law, and making a ruling not in accordance with section 80 of the Elections Act, among other points of grievances.
Mr. Mati however brushed off the threats of appeals by the IEBC and Mr. Mbevo as lame ducks. He expressed confidence in the unlikelihood of any of the two appeals being granted.
“The chances of any appeal being granted is 99.9% unlikely,” opinioned Mati.
“You see, what Mr. Mbevo has submitted so far is a memorandum of an appeal. This memorandum has to go through scrutiny by the court registry, the registrar then writes to the Chief Justice who then gazettes the appeal and allocates a judge to hear the appeal,” he expounded.
Both Eng. Musee Mati and hon. Felix ‘Baridi’ Mbevo, on separate grounds, have accused powerful key persons in the county and national governments of masterminding their plights.