At least three people accused of bribing voters have been arrested in Kibra as the hotly contested by-election gets underway.
A middle-aged man, alleged to be an official at the Lang’ata CDF office, was roughed up by an angry mob who caught him dishing out money to voters before he was rescued and arrested by police.
Nairobi Area police boss Mr Philip Ndolo said the suspect was first taken to hospital for treatment for his wounds before he was booked into Kilimani Police Station.
“He was arrested around 7am alongside another woman,” said Mr Ndolo.
Ford Kenya candidate Khamisi Butichi, who cast his vote at about 6.30am at Mashimoni primary school, complained of voter bribery in polling stations in Lindi, Sarang’ombe and Laini Saba wards.
"We have witnessed three cases of some people trying to bribe voters to vote for a particular candidate. We will forward the evidence to police in the next one hour for action," said Mr Butichi.
His complaints were echoed by those of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) chairman Mr John Mbadi who also claimed that there were challenges including voter bribery, some names missing on the voters register, and some gadgets not working at some polling centres.
“I came here because there were urgent issues raised by our supporters that there was a fracas here in the morning largely caused by persons who were bribing voters. One of the guys issuing bribes was reported to be an aide of Lang’ata MP Nixon Korir,” said Mr Mbadi at the Mashimoni polling station in Laini Saba Ward.
The ODM chairman, however, confirmed that the incident was managed and that the voting process went on smoothly.
The MP also observed that there was a low voter turnout which he blamed on the election being conducted on a working day.
“Low turnouts are expected at by-elections but we are hoping that by afternoon when people have come from their daily chores, the turnout will have improved and that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will allow all voters the chance to exercise their vote” said the politician.
Another man posing as an agent and accused of bribing voters at the Old Kibra Primary polling station was also arrested.
Amani National Congress (ANC) candidate Eliud Owalo also echoed his opponents claims of massive voter bribery at the polling stations and urged IEBC to redeem its dented image by ensuring a free and fair process.
“We will accept the outcome so long as it will be a free and credible,” he said shortly after voting at Old Kibra Primary School accompanied by his party’s leader Mr Musalia Mudavadi.
Mr Mudavadi called on employers to allow their employees a chance to cast their votes saying the outcome of the by-election will have a great impact of the lives of Kibra residents.
Polls opened at 6am and long lines could be seen in polling stations across the constituency's five wards - Sarang’ombe, with the highest number of registered voters at 30,754, Woodley/Kenyatta Golf Course (28,066), Makina (25,695), Laini Saba (17,455) while Lindi has 16,688.
There are 24 candidates battling for the 118,658 votes.
The by-election follows the death of MP Ken Okoth after he succumbed to cancer in July.