Embu governor Wambora retains seat in tough contest

Thursday August 10 2017

Embu Governor Martin Wambora at Jubilee Part

Embu Governor Martin Wambora at Jubilee Party headquarters on May 3, 2017. He is likely to retain his governorship seat. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By CHARLES WANYORO
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Embu Governor Martin Wambora has retained his seat in a dramatic contest that saw a magistrate called in to look for a missing voters’ register.

Mr Wambora, who is widely regarded as the governor with the proverbial nine lives, garnered 97,544 votes against Mr Lenny Kivuti’s 96,597 while Mr Kithinji Kiragu (PNU) emerged third with 50,590, with only one polling station not tallied.

CONSTITUENCY

Former Transport Principal Secretary Cyrus Njiru was a distant fourth with 2,344, followed by Mr Leonard Muriuki (Narc Kenya, 2,313) and Dr Njagi Kumantha (939 votes).

Mr Wambora, the Jubilee Party candidate, won by a huge margin in Runyenjes, attaining 53,345 votes against Mr Kivuti’s 9,048; and repeated the feat in Manyatta by scoring 32,403 while the outgoing senator had 14,835.

VOTERS' REGISTER

Mr Kivuti turned the tables in Mbeere region, attaining 72,714 while Mr Wambora had 11,796.

However, the results for one stream in Karaba Consolata Primary School were not relayed electronically after the voters’ register and results went missing.

The exercise forced IEBC to move to court and get a magistrate to witness the breaking of seals to enable them announce the final tally.

BALLOT BOXES

However, the exercise to open three ballot boxes, which was witnessed by Principal Magistrate Beatrice Kimemia, didn’t bear any fruits.

The polling station’s presiding officer was held for questioning.

Earlier in the day, Mr Wambora and Mr Kivuti were locked in a stiff see-saw that excited both sides, before he surged forward and opened a gap that grew by the hour.

LEAD

On Wednesday morning, Mr Wambora had a close to 2,000 vote-lead against Mr Kivuti who later turned the tables by opening a gap of more than 1,000 votes when those from Mbeere trickled in.

However, things started changing after results from several stations in Runyenjes started flowing in.

Their supporters in Runyenjes and Manyatta hurled rigging accusations at each other.

RIGGING

Mr Wambora and Mr Kivuti also stormed various tallying centres in vote rigging row and to push the officials to announce the results.

Tension was high at the Manyatta Constituency tallying centre in Kangaru School after a ballot box was found outside the hall with stuffed ballot papers.

The unmarked materials belonged to Kambo market polling centre in Mbeti North ward.

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Manyatta Returning Officer Faith Mugo said a probe on the matter is afoot.

"We are going to find out who was in charge of the materials. We didn’t give our papers just to anybody. We want to know why the presiding officer didn’t return them," she said.

The box was taken to Embu police station.