Monday, September 17, 2012

Big win for Uhuru and Raila

By NATION TEAM [email protected]

The National Alliance (TNA) won two of the three parliamentary seats in Monday's by-elections as the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) retained Ndhiwa in a landslide win.

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta’s TNA won the Kangema and Kajiado North seats, hitherto held by the Party of National Unity (PNU).

In Kangema, TNA’s Tiras Ngahu had 13,762 votes ahead of United Democratic Forum’s Simon Mwangi with 2,981 and Saba Saba Asili’s Muturi Kigano with 2,801, after results from all the 47 polling stations were announced.

Provisional results for Kajiado North showed Mr Moses ole Sakuda of TNA leading with 25,569 votes followed by Mr Peter ole Mositet of ODM with 13,519 votes. PNU’s Antony Keen was third with 2,048 votes.

In Ndhiwa, ODM’s Agustino Neto led with 21,565 votes followed by Kanu’s Tom Onyango who had 2,291. TNA’s Rosemary Rumo was trailing with 216 votes.

Earlier, at least 10 people were arrested, among them an electoral commission clerk, as claims of voter bribery marred the by-elections. (READ: Arrests, low turnout mark start of by-elections)

The win in Ndhiwa gave Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the ODM party leader, an assurance of unrivalled support in his backyard as he heads to next year’s general elections.

While campaigning for Mr Neto at the weekend, Mr Odinga urged voters in Ndhiwa not to give his rivals doubts about his political base by electing an MP from a different party.

Mr Kenyatta also spoke the same language in Kangema when he urged voters in former Cabinet minister John Michuki’s constituency to elect a TNA candidate to send a message that this was the party of the moment.

Eight people were arrested in Ndhiwa for attacking a Kanu agent while two others — a clerk with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and a party agent — were seized in Kajiado North for attempting to vote at a polling station where the latter was not registered.

A UDF official in Kangema narrowly escaped death after a mob claimed he was dishing money to voters. The by-elections were seen as important tests for presidential aspirants ahead of the General Election.

Mr Odinga (ODM), Mr Kalonzo Musyoka (WDM), Mr Kenyatta (TNA), Mr Musalia Mudavadi (UDF), Mr William Ruto (URP), Ms Martha Karua (Narc-K), Mr Eugene Wamalwa (New Ford-K), Mr Peter Kenneth (KNC) and Mrs Charity Ngilu (Narc) campaigned for their parties’ candidates.

In Ndhiwa, eight people who attacked a Kanu agent in Magina Village on Sunday night were charged with robbery with violence. They were accused of violently robbing Mr David Otieno Gor and Mr Maurice Odhiambo Mumbo of property.

They denied the charges and were each released on a Sh500,000 bond and surety in similar amount. The case will be heard on October 8, 2012. At least two people were admitted to hospital with panga cuts in the violence at Magina.

Mr Neto, Mr Onyango and Ms Rumo were fighting for the seat left vacant after Mr Orwa Ojodeh was killed in a helicopter crash on June 10 together with Prof George Saitoti, who represented Kajiado North.

In Kajiado North, an IEBC clerk and a party agent were arrested as the former was trying to assist the latter to vote at Ewas polling station where he was not registered.

Almost lynched

IEBC commissioner Yusuf Nzibo said the clerk was swiftly sacked and replaced.

Dr Nzibo dismissed allegations by TNA candidate Sakuda, who voted at Kimuka Primary School, that some presiding officers at Parkasi, Oloiloi and Em Masi favoured his rivals while guiding illiterate voters.

Other candidates in the race were Mr Salaon Kashorda (UDF), Mr Paul Gichinga (Kanu), Mr Anthony Keen (PNU), Mr Solomon Kinyanjui (WDM), Mr Peter Munyu (KNC), Mr Livingstone Sane (Agano), Mr Andrew Nangurai (RBK), and Ms Ruth Njoroge (Conservative Party).

In Kangema, a UDF official was almost lynched on suspicion he was bribing voters in Kibutha polling station. Kangema district commissioner Fredrick Muli spirited away Mr Gerald Wambugu to safety at the local police station.

But UDF Murang’a deputy secretary-general Peter Karanja denied the allegations, accusing the mob of obstructing him from delivering identification papers to party agents in the area.

Mr Karanja protested that their agents had been prevented from accessing the polling centres in the area due to lack of papers.

“They should tell the police who he has bribed. This is a gimmick to ensure that our agents are not allowed into the voting rooms. This is why we did not want to distribute the same at night.

Our party adheres to the code of conduct on elections which we have signed”, he said at the police station where he had rushed to rescue his colleague.

Police declined to arrest a man who claimed he had been bribed by Mr Wambugu. The man, Mr Gitere Kirubi waved a Sh1,000 note he claimed he had been given.

The seat fell vacant following the death of Cabinet minister John Michuki in February.

Those out to replace him were Mr Ngahu, Mr Simon Mwangi (UDF), Mr Paul Mugo (PNU), Mr John Gathogo (Mkenya Solidarity), Mr Clement Muturi Kigano (Saba Saba Asili) and Mr Samuel Mwangi (Mzalendo Saba Saba).

Reports by Lucas Barasa, Patrick Nzioka, Dan Otieno, Ponciano Odongo, Samuel Karanja and Maurice Kaluoch

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