Rivals trade bribery accusations in Kericho by-election

Energy CS Keter says county government vehicles used to carry bribery money.

Tuesday March 8 2016

Lamu East MP Shariff Athman (right) in a confrontation with Msambweni MP Suleiman Dori over bribery claims at Sir Ali Primary School in Malindi, Kilifi County, on March 7, 2016. Police were forced to shoot in the air to disperse a crowd that wanted to beat up Jubilee activist Godfrey Karume. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Lamu East MP Shariff Athman (right) in a confrontation with Msambweni MP Suleiman Dori over bribery claims at Sir Ali Primary School in Malindi, Kilifi County, on March 7, 2016. Police were forced to shoot in the air to disperse a crowd that wanted to beat up Jubilee activist Godfrey Karume. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By TIMOTHY KEMEI
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By ANITA CHEPKOECH
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Jubilee and Kanu leaders Monday accused each other of bribing voters in Kericho as locals went to the polls to pick their new senator to replace Charles Keter who was appointed to the Cabinet.

Mr Keter led the Jubilee charge, accusing unnamed rivals from Bomet of using county government vehicles to campaign for Kanu candidate Mr Paul Sang.

However, Mr Sang dismissed the allegations saying that in fact, it was government representatives that were bribing voters and called for action from the electoral commission.

Low voter turn-out dimmed hope of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission officials and the six aspirants, who had hoped  elaborate campaigns witnessed over the past three weeks would lure more voters to take part.

Jubilee Alliance Party candidate is Mr Aaron Cheruiyot.

Among those accused of bribing voters were Mr Keter, Senate Deputy Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen, Nandi Senator Stephen Sang and Kanu Secretary General Nick Salat.

Although Mr Cheruiyot, who cast his ballot at 10.37am at Kapmaso Primary in Kabianga, Belgut, said the process had been smooth and had witnessed no major incidents, Mr Keter, who is the Energy Cabinet Secretary, warned of voter buying by Kanu.

Mr Keter, who voted minutes before Mr Cheruiyot, claimed  vehicles belonging to the County Government of Bomet were being used to transport the money used to bribe voters and called on JAP supporters.

“We have received information from our supporters that  on Sunday night, there were attempts to bribe them. We have asked them to report the matter to the police. We are warning that any vehicle that will be suspected to be carrying money meant to bribe voters will be impounded,” he said.

In Bureti Constituency, Mr Sang was making similar claims,  accusing the Jubilee government of massive voter bribery and intimidation.

Mr Sang who spoke after casting his vote at Kamanamsin Primary at 8.50am, accompanied by his 99-year old father Francis Marisin, claimed the government was using its vast resources against him.

“We are demanding that they allow Kericho residents to make a fair choice, free of any interference. We are warning them that they will be calling for a  revolution if they try to force a leader on them,” said Mr Sang.

The former Bureti MP also claimed his agents had been locked out of several polling stations to enable Jubilee to rig.

He said his agents in six constituencies, including Belgut, were turned away from several polling stations including Sosiot Social Hall, Cheboror Tea Buying Centre, Keben, Kaborok, Teldet, Chepkoin  and Cheymen Social, among others.

This came as Mr Salat refuted Mr Keter’s claims that Bomet County vehicles  were used to campaign the Kanu candidate.

Mr Salat described the allegations as baseless and meant to malign Kanu and the county government.

He questioned why no one is mentioning vehicles from Elgeyo Marakwet he claims were used by Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and other JAP campaigners.

Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto was one of the major Kanu supporters in the by-election.

“We are all one and the same people. We are all campaigning from our respective alliances. It is not fair to single out individuals,” said Mr Salat adding they suspect IEBC is planning to favour the government.

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