Breaking News

Jubilee cancels primaries in all counties

Friday April 21 2017

By NATION TEAM
More by this Author

Chaotic scenes marred Jubilee strongholds as the party’s primaries to pick candidates for the August 8 General Election flopped.

This evening, the party eventually cancelled the nominations in all the 21 counties, citing massive irregularities.

In some counties, such as Meru, Murang’a, Kirinyaga, Nandi and Kericho, violent incidents were reported with youths barricading major roads, storming polling centres and burning ballot papers in protest.

Many of the protests were sparked by a shortage of ballot papers and late arrival of election materials.

MONITORING EVENTS
The ruling party was to carry out nominations in 21 counties across the country, many of them in its central and Rift Valley strongholds.

However, delays in supplying adequate election materials in polling stations sparked widespread protests with police in places like Nakuru firing in the air and using teargas to disperse angry party supporters.

At about mid-day, the party’s Secretary-General, Mr Raphael Tuju, said they were monitoring the situation and promised to give an update.

By about 6pm, he issued a statement saying that nominations had been cancelled in 11 counties: Narok, Kajiado, Kericho, Bomet, Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia, Baringo, Nakuru, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Embu and Nandi.

In these and other areas, many aspirants had mobilised their supporters to turn up in large numbers, knowing that a victory in the nominations would put them in good stead to win during the General Election.

Mr Tuju also said that in the areas that voting was taking place; Murang’a, Kirinyaga, Nyeri and Nyandarua counties, the party would continue to monitor the events closely.

WEAPONS FOUND
Three counties; Laikipia, Meru, Kiambu and West Pokot had the nominations cancelled only in some parts.

In Kiambu, the nomination was cancelled in Gatundu South Constituency after police found weapons and election materials related to three aspirants in a car.

Mr Tuju said fresh dates for repeat nominations in the affected counties will be agreed on in order to uphold the transparency and fairness of the process.

Parties have until Wednesday next week to submit the lists of their aspirants to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

Independent candidates, on the other hand, have until May 20 to submit their papers to the commission.

That means Jubilee must hold fresh nominations before Wednesday.

This could be a tall order for President Uhuru’s party because it is scheduled to hold nominations in 23 other counties on Tuesday, a day to the deadline of submitting its list of candidates to IEBC.

FEW BALLOT PAPERS

The counties to hold nominations on Tuesday are Lamu, Wajir, Mandera, Marsabit, Turkana, Samburu, Kilifi, Tana River, Mombasa, Kitui, Machakos, Makueni, Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma, Busia, Homa Bay, Migori, Kwale, Garissa, Nyamira, Isiolo and Kisii.

The party will hold nominations for Nairobi on Monday.

Today’s primaries were marked by long delays.

In one polling station in Eldoret Town, aspirants claimed only 1,000 ballot papers were supplied yet the centre had 11,000 registered voters.

In Baringo, 64 gubernatorial ballot booklets were missing and some had been tampered with.

In Kericho’s Bureti Constituency, 29,000 ballot papers were supplied against a demand of 64,000.

In Laikipia, Murang’a and Kirinyaga, angry youths set ablaze the inadequate ballot papers in some polling stations.

As a result of the inadequacies, some aspirants and voters agreed not to take part in the nominations until enough ballot papers are supplied.

IRREGULARITIES
In the North Rift, affected counties were Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Trans Nzoia and Baringo.

Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago and his challenger, Mr Bundotich Zedekiah Kiprop (Buzeki), also protested at the shortage of voting materials and demanded that the nominations be called off.

In Nandi, infuriated Jubilee supporters blocked the Kapsabet-Eldoret road demanding that voting be postponed to give time for printing of more ballots. Police fired in the air to disperse the crowd.

In Elgeyo-Marakwet, Governor Alex Tolgos also pressed for the postponement to the nominations.

In Trans Nzoia, the nominations were called off after anomalies in ballot papers were detected while in Kericho, agitated voters united to boycott the nominations citing numerous irregularities.

ILL-PREPARED
Many of them had waited for hours outside polling stations hoping to cast their votes.

Aspirants in many counties described the entire process as a sham.

The ill preparation by the ruling party comes against the background of the nominations conducted by Opposition parties, especially ODM, which have been equally controversial.

Unlike ODM, which had opted to hold its nominations over several days, Jubilee had initially planned to hold its nominations in one day countrywide.

However, this week, it revised its plan, instead saying that it would held them over two days, today and Tuesday.

However, it was apparent from early morning that the party was ill-prepared for the gigantic task.

Complaints from diverse counties, from Narok to Laikipia, started emerging from early in the morning due to delays in delivering ballot papers.

In some regions, such as Meru, election materials were being delivered as late as 1pm.

In many areas, voters left their polling stations after waiting for hours on end.

VOTE RIGGING
In Kiambu, one of the contestants, Mr Ferdinand Waititu, said his name was missing from the register of voters.

The Governor, Mr William Kabogo, also criticised the preparations, saying he sympathised with leaders whose strongholds had not been supplied with sufficient ballot papers.

In Kirinyaga, where voting was also delayed, former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru criticised the handling of the nominations.

“Jubilee should come clean on this nomination,” she said. “We will not participate in a sham exercise.”

Governor Joseph Ndathi also protested at the delay but urged his supporters to be patient.

Speaking at Rukenya Primary School polling station, he said the delay was tantamount to rigging.

“The nominations have delayed for six hours. It is clear that those presiding the nominations were not properly prepared,” Mr Ndathi said after casting his vote at around 2pm.

MATERIALS RECALLED
In Nakuru, all the aspirants asked the party to postpone the nominations citing irregularities.

They reached the decision after consultations with the county elections board at a meeting convened at the party’s headquarters in Milimani.

The aspirants, who included John Mututho and Lee Kinyanjui, both seeking the governor’s ticket, and a representative of the incumbent, Mr Kinuthia Mbugua, demanded a fresh nomination date.

Mr Kinyanjui said: “This is a mockery, a plot to shame the President. The party should shape up or compensate aspirants,” he said.

“Aspirants have spent a lot and this is a joke,” Mr Mututho said.

In Narok County, all voting materials were recalled from the six constituencies as they were inadequate.

The party’s regional coordinator, Mr John Melita, said the county election board will call aspirants for a meeting today.

In Nyeri, gubernatorial aspirant Wahome Gakuru said the party’s leadership at the headquarters had demonstrated incompetence.