Five held for alleged malpractice as hitches affect some stations

Tuesday August 8 2017

Meru Governor Peter Munya casts his vote at Nchuui Primary School in Tigania East on August 8, 2017. He said he would accept the outcome. PHOTO | PHOEBE OKAL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Meru Governor Peter Munya casts his vote at Nchuui Primary School in Tigania East on August 8, 2017. He said he would accept the outcome. PHOTO | PHOEBE OKAL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By NATION TEAM
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Five people were arrested as leaders complained of voter bribery during elections marked by high voter turnout in Mt Kenya counties on Tuesday.

Those arrested included IEBC officials, party agents and politicians accused of electoral malpractices.

Voters showed up at polling centres as early as 4am despite the chilly weather, but later complained about slow-moving queues and electronic voter identification devices (Evids) that constantly failed to read the fingerprints of some residents. Some names were missing on the register, sparking protests from affected voters.

In Nyeri, villagers were woken up by political mobilisers including the youth, village elders and assistant chiefs who blew vuvuzelas and whistles as early as 4am.

 In Murang’a, two clerks were arrested in Kandara constituency, for trying to change the names of IEBC staff so that their preferred clerks could conduct elections.

POLICE TIPPED

Kandara OCPD Gregory Mutiso told Nation that the suspects had a list of clerks they wanted to conduct elections.

Mr Mutiso said the returning officer tipped off the police, who made the arrests.

“We were notified by the constituency elections manager and moved in with speed and arrested the suspects,” Mr Mutiso said, adding that investigations were ongoing to determine the charges they would face.

In Meru, two people, including a member of the county executive, were arrested in Imenti South on allegations of voter buying, even as voting continued smoothly in most areas.

Agriculture executive Jenaro Gatangugi and Mr Mbae Kiugu were arrested and roughed up by supporters of Jubilee’s gubernatorial candidate Kiraitu Murungi in Nkubu town.

They were taken to Mr Murungi’s home where they were allegedly found with money meant to bribe voters.

VOTER BRIBERY

“I was taking tea at a hotel in Nkubu town while waiting for my car, which was being cleaned. We were taken to Mr Murungi’s home where the beating went on before police officers picked us. I have been injured and my phone was taken. This is all made up,” said Mr Gatangugi.

The two were taken to Nkubu police station where they recorded statements.

Several politicians, including Governor Peter Munya raised concerns over what they termed voter buying by their opponents.

Speaking before casting his vote at Nchuui Primary School in Tigania East, Mr Munya claimed that some polling centres in Igembe North were opened before 6am.

Meanwhile, police in Isiolo arrested a man on claims of voter bribery.

VOTING DELAYED

County Commissioner George Natembeya said the man, who was locked up at Isiolo police station, was found bribing voters in an unnamed polling centre within Isiolo town.

The man whose name has been withheld is a supporter of a top gubernatorial candidate in the county.

Police are also in possession of photos of those who allegedly received the bribe.

Mr Natembeya said voter bribery allegations have been reported by several candidates since voting kicked off.

In Kirinyaga, a mix-up of ballot papers for MCA positions delayed the start of voting at Thumaita West Primary School in Ndia Constituency, by one hour.

WRONG BALLOT PAPERS

The mix-up that involved the Ndia based polling station and Nairobi Road Primary School in Nakuru saw each of them receiving 1,000 wrong MCA ballot papers forcing officials to delay the start of polls.

According to Ndia Deputy Returning Officer Hellen Wanyiri, only one stream was affected. Still in the county, gubernatorial candidates Ann Waiguru and Martha Karua accused each other of voter bribery and trying to rig the elections.

And in Tharaka Nithi, Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki voted very early in the morning at Kathwana Primary School polling centre while governor Samuel Ragwa voted at Giampampo Primary School polling centre after which he complained that his party agents were being thrown out of some polling centres and that there were some people still campaigning for his competitor.

“We need fair competition to avoid waste of time with court cases,” said Mr Ragwa.

Voting in some polling stations in Wajir County was delayed when some of the Evids experienced technical hitches.

The process however went on smoothly in most polling stations after the intervention of IT experts.

In Mandera, Economic Freedom Party (EFP) candidates asked IEBC to ensure the election in the county is credible following what gubernatorial candidate Hassan Noor Hassan said were challenges due to failing electoral devices.