20 April 2017

Kenya: ODM Throws Mruttu Lifeline - Argues Downpour Could Have Cost Him Ticket

Nairobi — ODM's National Elections Board (NEB) has recalled nomination results for Taita Taveta county.

In a statement late Wednesday, NEB Chairperson Judith Pareno said the Returning Officer in charge of the exercise conducted on Tuesday in the county had made the request following a heavy downpour that rendered a number of polling stations in Taveta constituency inaccessible.

"The five polling stations are Jipe Primary School, Chala Primary School, Mahandakini Primary School, St. Joseph Kivukoni Primary School and Chala-Njukini Primary School," Pareno said in a press release.

"In order to allow party members registered in the five polling stations to exercise their democratic right, the Board has ordered the exercise be done on Saturday April 22, 2017," she added.

Earlier results relayed by the party indicated that Governor John Mruttu had lost to National Assembly Minority Whip Thomas Mwadeghu (Wundanyi MP).

The Wundanyi lawmaker, according to the results had garnered 18,421 votes against Mruttu's 15,911 in a tally released early Wednesday.

The outcome further indicated that the incumbent only managed a lead in his Taveta constituency backyard where he amassed 5,112 votes against Mwadeghu's 1,181.

In Wundanyi, the Minority Whip narrowly defeated Mruttu getting 4,417 votes against the governor's 3,628 votes but he won the Mwatate constituency vote by a convincing margin garnering 8,626 compared to the incumbent's 3,221.

In Voi constituency, the county's commercial hub, the legislator still carried the day albeit with a few more votes compared to Mruttu. Mwadeghu harvested 4,197 compared to 3,950 votes managed by the county boss.

Mwadeghu had celebrated the outcome saying his triumph was valid.

"I have defeated him in three constituencies out of the four. It is very clear," said he.

Mruttu who had on Monday called for postponement of the exercise by three days authored a statement saying that the results were invalid since some electors in Taveta constituency were unable to cast their votes.

"There're polling stations that have not voted while other experienced massive shortage of ballot papers," Mruttu said.

"Chala ward (Taveta) was given roughly 700 ballot papers against 6,000 registered voters," the county CEO complained.

Mruttu also stated that various wards in the constituency were grossly disadvantaged claiming that he had been informed that primaries in affected wards would be repeated on Thursday.

"This morning (Wednesday), I was verbally informed that elections in these polling stations (Challa, Mahindikini, Kivukoni and Eldoro/Jipe) will be conducted tomorrow (Thursday). However I have since checked with the County Elections Board Chair who is completely unaware of such plans," he reported.

Once the exercise is conducted in the five polling stations on Saturday, the results could tilt in favour of the governor who is currently behind Mwadeghu by slightly over 2000 votes.

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