Kenya: Kibra Poll - Voting, Hitches and Bribery Claims

Voters queue to cast their votes at Toi Primary School in the Kibra by-election on November 7, 2019.
7 November 2019

Kibra residents in Nairobi County are voting in a high-stakes parliamentary by-election on Thursday seen as a do-or-die between Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto.

Polls opened at 6am and long lines could be seen in polling stations across the constituency's five wards - Sarang'ombe, with the highest number of registered voters at 30,754, Woodley/Kenyatta Golf Course (28,066), Makina (25,695), Laini Saba (17,455) while Lindi has 16,688.

There are 24 candidates battling for the 118,658 votes.

The by-election follows the death of MP Ken Okoth after he succumbed to cancer in July.

Mr J.B Ongote, a voter at the Toi Primary poling station, in Woodley/Kenyatta Golf Course ward, says the voting process is smooth and everything is in order.

Further, he says that he believes that the candidate he voted for will win the by-election and bring the change that Kibra needs.

"IEBC has done a good job, the station was opened on time and the voting process has been peaceful so far," said Mr Ongote.

HITCHES

However, it is not all smooth at Jamhuri Primary polling station in the same ward. At one of the streams, the biometric machine used to verify the voters' identity is not working properly. WATCH VIDEO HERE

The frustrated voters, who have been on the queue since 6am, say that this is not the first time that they have experienced delays at the polling station. They claim the same hitches occured in previous elections in 2017.

By 8am, only five people had cast their ballots at the affected stream with 672 registered voters.

BRIBES

In Laini Saba, voters at the Mashimoni polling station claimed there were incidences of bribery with Sh200 notes being disbursed.

Kimilili MP Dismas Baraza, who was at the station, was also heckled.

But with heavy police presence, the situation calmed down.

Ford Kenya candidate Khamisi Butichi, addressing the press after voting at Mashimoni, said several cases of voter bribery were also reported in Lindi, and Sarang'ombe wards.

"We have witnessed three cases of some people trying to bribe voters to vote for a particular candidate. We will forward the evidence to police in the next one hour for action," Mr Butichi said.

CANDIDATES

The four parties are leading the pack in the battle for MP seat.

ODM has fielded the late Okoth's brother Bernard Imran Okoth, while ruling Jubilee party is fronting football star McDonald Mariga.

Amani National Congress (ANC), led by Musalia Mudavadi, has thrown its weight behind Mr Odinga's former aide Eliud Owalo, while Ford Kenya, whose leader is Moses Wetang'ula, backs Khamisi Butichi.

2022 REHEARSAL

The two political heavyweights, Dr Ruto and Mr Odinga, have traversed the constituency chasing votes in what is shaping up to be a rehearsal for the 2022 presidential race.

Political analyst Herman Manyora says the race is a major battle for the two leaders describing it as "too close to call".

"Anyone can win. I cannot place a bet on this race," Prof Manyora told Nation.

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