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Barasa’s fate hangs in limbo over murder

Residents of Kimilili constituency are a perturbed lot as they await the court’s verdict on their MP elect Mr Didmus Barasa accused of killing his opponent, Brian Khaemba’s aide last week.

Didmus Barasa is reported to have been involved in a shooting that led to the death of his rival’s aide last Tuesday’s evening after the votes had been cast.

According to the results announced after tallying at Kimilili constituency tallying center, Didmus retained the seat after garnering 26,861 votes against his main competitor’s Khaemba’s 9,497 votes.

The two will now face off in court on the alleged murder incident.

Some leaders and activists from Kimilili constituency had asked IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati not to declare Didmus as MP elect following his involvement in the alleged murder case.

According to Professor Duncan Wanyonyi, a political analyst, Kenyan constitution does not provide for a procedure to be followed in case a member of parliament is involved in such an incident.

Professor Wanyonyi said even if Didmus will be found guilty of the accusations leveled against him, his office will not fall vacant until another petition is taken to court and proved that he abused his office.

Wanyonyi also said, it is not enough to just prove him guilty because that one is left to the court to pass a judgment which might be a fine that he can pay and carry on as an MP, “It becomes a different story when he is sentenced to jail,” Wanyonyi added.

Wanyonyi said if the lawmaker is proved guilty and jailed, the seat will fall vacant under article 1(b) of chapter eight part two of the constitution (composition and membership of parliament).

“It is not just enough to say he killed by shooting, the police officers investigating the incident must come up with tangible evidence to prove him guilty,” Wanyonyi said.

According to Wanyonyi, a murder case is always the most difficult to prove since the court requires tangible evidence.

Bungoma County Commissioner Mr. Samuel Kimiti has since promised that the team investigating the case will handle it with utter professionalism devoid of fear, intimidation and blackmail.

In case the seat falls vacant, the respective Speaker shall, within twenty-one days after the occurrence of the vacancy, give notice in writing of the vacancy to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and (b) a by-election shall be held within ninety days of the occurrence of the vacancy, subject to clause (5).

By Mwangi Oliver

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