An ODM official was arrested, a former MP beaten by a mob which included an MP, while police shot in the air at separate polling stations in an eventful election in Malindi constituency Monday.
Mr Philip Etale, the Orange Democratic Party’s communications director, was arrested at 1am in his Rafiki Hotel room in Malindi town over allegations he was involved in election crimes.
Policemen who had been trailing him searched his room and took him to Kilifi Police Station and then to court, though he was not charged.
Malindi police chief Matawa Muchangi said Mr Etale would be detained at the station for three days as investigations into the allegations were carried out.
“We received information last week that there was someone driving a Silver Toyota Note (sic) and was buying voters and ID cards, which he would later destroy.”
“We trailed him and found that the allegations were true and indeed he was driving into the said estates buying the material,” he told a news conference at Barani Secondary School, the IEBC tallying centre. He claimed the ODM official was buying each card for Sh500.
At Kakuyuni trading centre, about five kilometres from Malindi town, former Mwea MP Peter Gitau was rescued by police from a mob of ODM supporters that accused him of bribing voters.
He was wrestled to the ground and money taken from him.
An MP was part of the group that confronted Mr Gitau after he had walked out of the polling station.
“He came from the direction of the polling station and then addressed a crowd at the trading centre, telling them he was an observer and lecturing them on why it was important to vote,” said a witness, Mr Abdul Ali.
“As he spoke, a group of more than 50 people in the company of the MP wrestled him to the ground and removed wads of notes from his pockets and threw them at the crowd, which scrambled for them as others rained blows and kicks on him. A woman tried to remove his neck chain,” he added.
Police on patrol rescued the former MP and took him to Malindi Police Station.
Mr Muchangi confirmed that an MP was with the crowd that roughed up Mr Gitau, adding that no reports of the alleged bribery attempts had been reported, but that police were investigating the incidents.
The same group attacked Nation journalist Samuel Kazungu, who had rushed to the scene to report on the incident.
The mob snatched his camera and tried to delete the photos he had taken at the scene.
In another incident, police had to shoot in the air at Sir Ali Primary School to disperse youths who had gathered around Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho when he confronted businessman and Jubilee activist Godfrey Karume over allegations of bribery.
The governor approached Mr Karume, held him by the hand and cautioned him against bribery. Youths confronted Mr Karume and removed Sh1,600 from his pockets, saying it was meant for bribing voters.
Another confrontation ensued between the governor, with Msambweni Orange MP Suleiman Dori on one side, and his Lamu East counterpart (URP) Sheriff Athman on the other.
Police had to fire in the air to disperse the crowd as the two MPs exchanged insults.
At Central Primary School polling station, Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu (Jubilee) was thrown out after election agents complained that he had forced his way in and was involved in “suspicious activities’.’
Mr Waititu said he was an agent for the JAP candidate but presiding officer Caleb Mogere told him he needed to have a badge, identifying him as such.
ODM’s agent Ms Betty Syengo objected to Mr Waititu’s presence and he was asked to leave.
JAP candidate Philip Charo voted at Maziwani polling station at 8.35am, while Mr William Mtengo, the ODM candidate, voted at 8.30am at Msabaha grounds.
Shirikisho’s David Mangi was at Central at 6.45am while Attas Sheriff of Labour Party of Kenya cast his ballot at Uhuru Garden at 9am.
“I have not slept a wink,’’ said 75-year-old Solomon Kazungu.
“I did not want to take chances and I am very happy to vote after which I will join others to ensure our votes are safe,’’ he said a few minutes before casting his vote.
Meanwhile, security was tight in all polling stations, with Kilifi County acting police commander David Kerina, saying they were not taking chances.
Speaking at Maziwani polling station, Mr Kerina said officers from regular and Administration Police and prison officers from Shimo La Tewa Maximum Prison in Mombasa County were taking charge of the security, while those from the General Service Unit were patrolling, with other groups of officers on standby.
“Each of the five wards is under the command of an OCPD. All centres are well covered,’’ he added.
Reports by Daniel Nyassy, Charles Lwanga, Samuel Kazungu and Njeri Rugene