Edith Vethi Nyenze has clinched Wiper party ticket to contest for Kitui West parliamentary seat.
Mrs Nyenze garnered 13, 388 votes against her sole opponent in the party Maluki Kitili Mwendwa who got 2,663 votes, to fly the Wiper party flag in the by-election scheduled for March 26th.
The party's returning officer Francis Kivindu announced the final results at Matinyani Hall tallying centre and declared Mrs Nyenze the winner.
Her supporters danced and cheered in celebrations after the late Nyenze widow was announced the winner.
She thanked her supporters for believing in her and pledged to heal the divides and political wounds in the Wiper party arising from the nomination contest, as she prepares to battle with candidates who will be nominated by other parties.
Mrs Nyenze, the widow of the late MP for Kitui West Francis Nyenze, enjoyed tremendous political goodwill and sympathy after juggling between the 2017 election campaigns and nursing her sick husband who succumbed to colon cancer in December, four months after winning in the August 8 General Election.
Mr Mwendwa, her rival in the party primaries, immediately conceded defeat and congratulated Mrs Nyenze “for a well-run campaign” and offered to support her win the by-election.
“To my worthy opponent, congratulations madam. You ran a great campaign and you have my full support going forward” Mr Mwendwa said in a brief statement.
The young Mwendwa, who is son of former cabinet minister Nyiva Mwendwa, thanked his supporters who were behind his short and spirited campaign, and urged them to rally behind the winner saying the people of Kitui West have spoken very clearly.
“I thank you all for your hard work and dedication. Even though the result may not be what we hoped for, the people have spoken. And we should now work for a greater Kitui West,” he said.
He particularly urged the residents shun petty divisions and stop looking at their constituency as two separate entities of Matinyani and Mutonguni but as one united Kitui west.
Mr Mwendwa hails from Matinyani sub -county while Mrs Nyenze is from the populous Mutonguni sub-county, and the divisions played out during campaigns for the party ticket.
Tuesday’s nominations kicked off to a smooth but slow start in most polling stations due to a delay in dispatching ballot materials but no major incidences were reported.
Voter turnout was expectedly low, across the four electoral wards with Kwa Mutonga and Matinyani wards registering the highest, according to Wiper party officials observing the election.
Earlier, Mrs Nyenze complained that the integrity of the nomination exercise was in doubt because it was not organized up to her expectations and that it was open to manipulation.
“I expected the party to do better than this. I don’t know how safe we are without a standard voter register but we hope all will be well” Mrs Nyenze told journalists soon after casting her ballot.
She cried foul that the outcome of the exercise may not be credible due to poor organisation.
Other than the aspirants’ agents, each station was manned by four election officials nominated by both the two camps.
Mr Mwendwa was turned away at the polling station for brief moment, after he found that he had left his National Identity Card in the car but was allowed to vote minutes later.
The young Mwendwa and Mrs Nyenze were the only aspirants seeking the Wiper party ticket, which sponsored the late MP to the August House.
He has been the chairman of the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) while Mrs Nyenze, a former secondary school principal, retired last year from the Retirement Benefits Authority.