Friday, August 28, 2009

ODM triumphs in Shinyalu, Bomachoge by-elections

The new MP for Bomachoge constituency Mr Simon Ogari (centre) addresses his constituents after he was declared the winner of the by election on an ODM ticket at Tendere Girls High School hall on Thursday. On his left is Lands minister James Orengo. Photo/JACOB OWITI.

The new MP for Bomachoge constituency Mr Simon Ogari (centre) addresses his constituents after he was declared the winner of the by election on an ODM ticket at Tendere Girls High School hall on Thursday. On his left is Lands minister James Orengo. Photo/JACOB OWITI. 

By NATION Team

The Orange Democratic Movement party has triumphed in Thursday's parliamentary by-elections as Justus Kizito won in Shinyalu and Simon Ogari in Bomachoge.

In Shinyalu, Mr Kizito managed 14,452 votes against his closest rival Daniel Khamasi of Kaddu who garnered 5,080.

In Bomachoge, Mr Ogari sailed through with 14,788 votes in a close race that saw PNU's Joel Onyancha coming second with 14,099 votes.

Mr Ogari’s jubilant supporters took to the streets of Ogembo town at dawn as soon as results were announced at the Tendere Girls by the returning officer Mr Thomas Ingolo.

Lands Minister James Orengo, who was the only ODM MP following the counting process from the tallying centre, said that the victory was a big boost to his party.

According to Orengo, the outcome of the Bomachoge seat vindicates the Orange party from the recent perceptions that the internal squabbles had affected its standing among the electorate.

He said: “Two by-elections in the same day and two victories actually is a wonderful experience."

Ford People’s Albert Nyaundi, who got 2,731, was third.

Mr Zepheniah Nyangwara of UDM polled 2,111 while civil society activist Cyprian Nyamwamu garnered 1,011 on a Safina ticket.

Others were:  Mabeya Adams (KSC) 84, Mirera Ombaso (Afford) 27, Credius Oigara (Kenda) 173, Lugard Obondi, (Kaddu) 190, James Ombasa (Nark-Kenya) 324.

Out of the 51,515 registered voters, 35,785 turned out to cast their votes, a 69 percent turnout.

The by-elections had been billed as a test of strength between the two main coalition partners in the government, the Party of National Unity (PNU) and the ODM.

They were also seen as a gauge on the impact of the internal wrangling within ODM which has pitted party leader and Prime Minister Raila Odinga against one of his deputies, Mr William Ruto who is also the Minister for Agriculture.

The Shinyalu seat fell vacant following the death of Charles Lugano Lilechi of ODM after a short illness.

Joel Onyancha, who was elected the Bomachoge MP in the 2007 elections lost his seat after the the High Court nullified his election over poll irregularities.

By-elections in the two constituencies were marked with low voter turnout.

It was the first test for the Interim Independent Electoral Commission, formed after the previous commission was dissolved after the 2007 presidential election.

At least 10 people were arrested on Thursday in Shinyalu for electoral malpractices. Eight were held for voter bribery while two were arrested for double registration.

The British Ambassador Rob Macaire, who was one of the accredited observers in the Bomachoge poll, termed the exercise as "satisfactory".

It was the first time in independent Kenya that elections were held using transparent ballot boxes, a move Macaire said was a step in the right direction for the IIEC.

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