Mruttu camps in Taveta as he seeks to edge out Mwadeghu

Thursday April 20 2017

ODM election clerks submit results from wards in Voi Constituency on April 18, 2017 as tallying for the Taita Taveta primaries went on. In Wundanyi, Mr Mwadeghu garnered 4,417 votes against Mr Mruttu’s 3,628 votes. PHOTO | LUCY MKANYIKA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

ODM election clerks submit results from wards in Voi constituency on April 18, 2017 as tallying for the Taita Taveta primaries went on. In Wundanyi, Thomas Mwadeghu garnered 4,417 votes against John Mruttu’s 3,628 votes. PHOTO | LUCY MKANYIKA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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After being given a lifeline by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) national elections board, Governor John Mruttu campaign team has camped in Taveta in a bid to overturn the slim margin between him and his opponent Thomas Mwadeghu.

On Wednesday the ODM’s election returning officer, Lawrence Ole Sempele, announced that the provisional results indicated that Mr Mwadeghu was leading with 17, 557 against Governor Mruttu’s 14, 817.

However, Mr Sempele said he would not announce the winner of the nomination results for gubernatorial, senatorial and Woman Representative seats until the five polling centres in Taveta voted.

The five polling centres where voting did not take place are believed to be Mr Mruttu’s strongholds.

The voting for the five stations will be on Saturday and according to Mr Mruttu’s supporters they were targeting more than 4500 votes in the area.

The five polling centres are Mahandakini, Jipe, Chala, St Joseph Kivukoni and Chala-Njukini Primary Schools.

“The governor is at Jipe campaigning and we know we will eventually clinch the party’s ticket. We don’t want to leave anything to chance,” said governor’s communication director, Samuel Mutie.

On Wednesday night Mr Mwadeghu was issued a provisional certificate pending the final tally after the Saturday exercise.

There is however confusion on who will participate in the exercise with Mruttu’s camp saying that the exercise is open to everyone something which his opponent vehemently opposes.

“We are relying on Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) figures. The figures show that the five centres have approximately 5000 voters,” Mr Mutie said.

Efforts to reach ODM’s county election chairperson, Anderson Mwaloma were futile because our calls went unanswered.

Mr Mruttu’s camp has expressed confidence that the voting rules that were used on Tuesday will apply on Saturday or else they feared that if the rules are changed the governor might be disadvantaged.

However Mr Mwadeghu cast doubt on the margins released by the returning officer on Wednesday night.

He accused the election team of altering the results hence reducing the difference between him and the governor.

“The results announced in Voi, Mwatate and Wundanyi have been altered. They should tell us how they came up with the figures,” he told the Nation.

On Wednesday morning, Taveta residents took to the streets to demonstrate against being denied to participate in the nomination exercise.

One of the residents told the Nation that they felt left out when the party failed to deliver ballot materials to their Challa poling centre.

“We felt we were being denied our democratic right when we were left out on Tuesday. We will come out in large numbers to elect whoever we feel should carry the flag of our party,” said one party supporter, Martin Kilonzo.

County peace forum chairperson, David Zowe urged the leaders to avoid divisive politics in their campaigns.

Speaking in Voi Mr Zowe feared if the aspirants failed to tame their speeches then the area might face tribal divisions.

“The aspirants should be the ones preaching peace. What we are seeing now is not healthy for our county,” he said.