Election observer slapped in Ruguru Ward by-election

Wednesday April 18 2018

By STEPHEN MUNYIRI
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By NICHOLAS KOMU
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A woman has been physically assaulted at a polling station during Ruguru Ward by-election in Nyeri County.

Ms Martha Miano, who claimed that she was an election observer with Political Parties Liaison Committee, was on Wednesday slapped at Ndunduini polling station in Mathira Constituency following a tussle over alleged voter bribery.

“I was attacked in the presence of the police who did nothing, it appears they (police) are biased,” claimed Ms Miano.

Mathira MP Righathi Gachagua had earlier questioned an Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) official on the criteria used to issue badges to observers.

The legislator insisted that some ‘observers’ had been campaigning for one of the candidates.

BADGES

In a video uploaded on Facebook, the MP threatens to eject ‘campaigners’ should the IEBC allow them to continue staying at the polling stations.

“Why are you giving campaigners badges? I will get them physically ejected from each polling station,” he said before Ms Miano was confronted by an angry youth. 

Mathira West police boss Kiptoo Birgen, who confirmed the incident, said that the matter was being investigated. 

“There are claims of election malpractices, we are looking into the matter but the situation has been contained,” Mr Birgen said.

LOW VOTER TURNOUT

Despite most polling stations opening early, the by-election was marked by low voter turnout.

Mr Gachagua, who cast his ballot some few minutes past 9am, decried over the low voter turnout but remained hopeful the numbers would improve by the day.

“The turnout is low and this is normal in a by-election,” Mr Gachagua noted.

The by-election is being held following the death of former MCA Peter Weru.