Confusion over ‘fake’ results in Kitui governor Wiper primaries

Tuesday April 25 2017

Kitui Governor Julius Malombe and Senator David Musila vote during the Wiper nominations on April 24, 2017. Counting of votes in the gubernatorial nominations was delayed for hours amid confusion as fake results were released on social media by rival camps. PHOTO | KITAVI MUTUA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Kitui Governor Julius Malombe and Senator David Musila vote during the Wiper nominations on April 24, 2017. Counting of votes in the gubernatorial nominations was delayed for hours amid confusion as fake results were released on social media by rival camps. PHOTO | KITAVI MUTUA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By KITAVI MUTUA
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Counting of votes in the Kitui County Wiper gubernatorial nominations was delayed for hours amid confusion as fake results were released on social media by rival camps.

Governor Julius Malombe and Senator David Musila’s camps released vote results favourable to them on WhatsApp.

However, the results were at variance with the actual ones, prompting tension at the main tallying hall.

Agents of the two leaders who are battling for the Wiper governorship ticket gave conflicting results from various polling stations, forcing party election officials to halt the tallying on Monday night.

By 10am Tuesday, the main tallying centre was still waiting for results from across the eight constituencies and supporters of the two camps had been barred from the Kitui Multipurpose Hall.

Journalists could not rely on social media reports and were also forced to wait for official results from returning officers to avoid releasing “fake results” to the public.

SOCIAL MEDIA WAR

County returning officer, a Mr Mutinda, urged the candidates to tone down the social media war and desist from releasing the unofficial results and wait for the tallying to be concluded.

However, both candidates were neck to neck in Kitui Central, Kitui rural, Kitui West and Kitui South constituencies, with reports showing Mr Musila leading in Mwingi North, Mwingi West and Kitui East.

In Mwingi Central, voting was disrupted in most polling stations after one of the parliamentary aspirants, Mr Gideon Mulyungi’s supporters allegedly destroyed ballot papers and chased away presiding officers claiming they were biased.

The rowdy supporters took over most stations where they marked the ballot papers confiscated from election officials for their candidate, prompting his rival, former Law Society of Kenya chairman Eric Mutua to demand a cancellation of the whole process.

VIOLENCE

Mr Mutua said his rival, a former public works secretary, had made a mockery of the process by leading “a wave of violence and intimidation of election officials” and insisted that the party must conduct repeat polls in Mwingi Central.

“We cannot have an aspirant choosing the presiding and returning officers or casting ballots for himself and then purporting to count the votes. There was no election and aspirants for all seats are affected,” Mr Mutua said.

On his part, Mr Mulyungi complained the presiding officers were biased against him and that there was a plot to rig him out.

In the senatorial contest, former journalist Enoch Wambua was leading in most polling centres against his opponent Paul Mutisya.