Race for governor’s seat behind transfer of voters

Nairobi recorded 104,439 transfers, the highest in the country.

Sunday March 27 2016

Voter registration in progress at Kisauni area in Mombasa on February 17, 2016. Suspicious transfer of voters in the just concluded Mass Voter Registration exercise is causing fears and panic in the political circles as candidates plot victory tactics against opponents in the 2017 General Elections. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Voter registration in progress at Kisauni area in Mombasa on February 17, 2016. Suspicious transfer of voters in the just concluded Mass Voter Registration exercise is causing fears and panic in the political circles as candidates plot victory tactics against opponents in the 2017 General Elections. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

ByISAAC ONGIRI
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Suspicious transfer of voters in the just concluded Mass Voter Registration exercise is causing fears and panic in the political circles as candidates plot victory tactics against opponents in the 2017 General Elections.

The Sunday Nation obtained the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) report on transferred voters indicating that Nairobi recorded 104,439 transfers, the highest in the country among the counties.

A total of 493,169 voters transferred to new stations moving from their original polling stations in 2013 with the majority of the movements reported in Nairobi.

Political pundits believe that the mass translocation of the voting population to the city is part of an awkward preparation for the Nairobi Gubernatorial Elections in 2017 against the incumbent Dr Evans Kidero.

Though the transfers were reported all over the country, the pattern in Nairobi has raised concerns. The number of transfers nearly matched the registered voters after the city recorded only 134,670 new voters.

In Wajir County those transferring to vote in the county are higher than those seeking applications for new registrations.

The numbers have also raised eyebrows in Majority Leader Aden Duale’s Garissa Township constituency after 6,516 new voters transferred into the electoral area.

Former Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim has promised a duel of a lifetime against the highflying URP politician who has risen to a top ranking national position only in his second term in Parliament.

HIGH FIGURES

The IEBC report exclusively seen by the Sunday Nation showed that 8,938 voters sought transfers to vote in Wajir as compared to 6,818 who registered for the first time during the MVR.

Embakasi Central Constituency in Nairobi whose MP is John Ndirangu is leading in the whole country in the number of transferred voters after recording 8,825 transfers with Steve Kariuki’s Mathare constituency closely following with 7,795.

Others with suspiciously higher figures include Embakasi East 7,062, Starehe 7,129 and Kamukunji 5,104, among others.

Nairobi Governor Dr Evans Dr Kidero, who though said some of the transfers may be genuine and from persons who are relocating because of the new elections calendar warned that some suspicious characters may have taken advantage to undertake massive translocation of populations and should be investigated.

“There are people moving to new voting stations especially in Nairobi because of the new voting calendar but of course there are individuals engaging in illegal mass translocation of persons which is suspicious,” Dr Kidero said.

He denied being involved in the translocations that have seen a surge in transfers in many city constituencies ahead of next year’s elections.

The governor said that some of those involved are campaigning for an ethnic-based leadership in the city but warned that Nairobi is a largely cosmopolitan county and voters should be allowed to choose leaders without nasty political machinations.

ETHNIC TALKS

Said Dr Kidero: “Such behaviours can cause political animosity in the city. It is interesting that the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has not taken notice of ethnic talks around the city politics by some people.”

Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru, one of the leading contenders expected to oppose Dr Kidero in the 2017 elections, said there was nothing political in the movements.

“People are exercising freedom to vote in any part of Kenya. People can vote in Kiambu, Kisii, Siaya or in Nairobi; anywhere they wish to cast their votes and no one can stop them, “Mr Waweru said.

Starehe MP Maina Kamanda, whose constituency has also seen large transfers, said that the movement may have been caused by political campaigns urging voters to register where they work and live.

“No one should be worried about the transfers. We went round asking people to register where they live and work. Kenyans just responded,” said Mr Kamanda, whose Starehe constituency has 7,129 transferred voters.

The IEBC has said it will undertake an empirical analysis to ascertain the reasons for the transfers whose magnitudes are unexplainable. “We are still analysing the report on the transfers and we will make a formal communication later,” said the IEBC Chief Officer Ezra Chiloba.

Voter transfer has been attributed to competition for the governor’s position in Nairobi, Kisii, Kakamega and Nyandarua counties.

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