Leaders campaign in villages ahead of Malindi by-election

Wednesday February 10 2016

Cord leader Raila Odinga (right) with Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho (second right) and other leaders during a rally to drum up support for the ODM Malindi by-election candidate William Mtengo at Ngala Grounds on February 8, 2016. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Cord leader Raila Odinga (right) with Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho (second right) and other leaders during a rally to drum up support for the ODM Malindi by-election candidate William Mtengo at Ngala Grounds on February 8, 2016. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By NATION TEAM
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Jubilee and ODM leaders have embarked on door-to-door campaigns ahead of the Milindi by-election slated for March 7.

Tuesday, the officials retreated to villages to rally support for their candidates even as the electoral commission issued a stern warning against voter bribery.

On Monday, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) cleared Jubilee candidate Phillip Charo and William Mtengo of ODM who later held high profile campaigns in Malindi Town.

Mr Mtengo’s campaigns were attended by Cord leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula as National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale and Kilifi ODM rebel MP Gideon Mung’aro led the team supporting Mr Charo.

However, the town was quiet yesterday as the politicians went to the villages for door-to-door campaigns. Those who were seen crisscrossing villages included Kinango MP Gonzi Rai (Jubilee), Taita Taveta’s Naomi Shaban (Jubilee) and ODM’s Mustapha Idd (Kilifi South) and Kwale Woman Representative Zainab Chidzuga.

ODM deputy leader and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and  Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi have literally camped in Malindi since nominations.

Save for a few supporters of Mr Charo who made rounds in vehicles mounted with speakers and chanting slogans, the town was generally quiet.

IEBC has warned that any candidate found bribing voters will be disqualified.

“We want to conduct an election that is transparent, free and fair with all the rules of the game strictly adhered to,’’ said North Coast IEBC coordinator Ms Amina Soud.

She warned: “The full force of the law would be applied to any one who violates the rules.”

STEALING VOTES

Her warning came as ODM and Jubilee accused each other of schemes to steal votes.

Ms Chidzuga of ODM who is supporting the Jubilee candidate claimed at  a rally  at Kijiwetanga Primary School that Cord had  started buying IDs from voters to ensure they don’t vote.

Mr Kingi who spoke at a rally attended by Mr Odinga, Mr Musyoka and Mr Wetang’ula at Ngala Estate grounds in Malindi on Monday,  claimed Jubilee was planning to steal votes.

Mr Musyoka warned that there would be chaos in Malindi which will “spread throughout the country’’ should  Mr Mtengo’s votes be stolen “as has been planned”.

Mr Duale who spoke at Alaskan grounds said the Malindi by-election would be a major test for IEBC chairman Isaack Hassan.

“If the votes are stolen in Malindi, you will not conduct the 2017 elections,” said Mr Duale.

Mr Duale said many votes were stolen at the Coast during the 2013 General Election and they would not allow the same to happen during the by-election.

But speaking at Malindi IEBC offices where three other candidates were cleared yesterday, Ms Soud said they are determined to conduct fair election.

“We are not joking here. We want to set a precedent that will be followed in next year’s General Election. Everyone must be held responsible for their actions and conduct,” she said.

Anyone who violates the rules will be dealt with, and this will  include barring the candidates even if they have been declared winners after the poll,” she added.

Ms Soud  who is in charge of Kilifi, Tana River and Lamu counties said party officials, candidates and their agents and security officers have been made aware of the code of conduct of an election.

Reported by Kazungu Samuel, Daniel Nyassy, Charles Lwanga and Phillip Muyanga.