Bishop Margaret Wanjiru was last evening arrested as Jubilee Party primaries in Nairobi touched off claims of favouritism between the city’s governorship top contestants Mike Sonko and former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth.
Police yesterday arrested Bishop Wanjiru after she allegedly stormed the City Park polling station and destroyed ballot papers.
The former Starehe MP, who is in the race for the Nairobi governorship, arrived at the polling station with tens of her supporters and complained that there had been a mix-up in the distribution of ballot papers.
Nairobi County police commander Japheth Koome said Ms Wanjiru had been held at the police cells and would be arraigned in court today morning for creating disturbance.
“She is at a cell that I will not disclose but I can assure you that she is in our hands. She was arrested for destroying ballot papers and being violent,” Mr Koome said.
Early in the morning, Senator Sonko and Mr Kenneth voted at their respective polling stations in the city, but they each accused the party of trying to bend the rules to favour the opponent.
In the party primaries punctuated with incidents of chaos, Mr Sonko and Senate aspirant Johnson Sakaja’s names were missing from the party’s register.
The nominations earlier witnessed a tragedy after a man was stabbed by rival supporters in Pangani.
Then, police arrested a man at Bidii Primary School for trying to force his way through a crowd and hug Mr Sonko.
But it was the accusations between Mr Sonko and Mr Kenneth that elevated the nominations to a life and death battle.
Mr Kenneth faulted polling clerks for scribbling down names of voters in a book and allowing non-party members to vote.
He said this would favour the senator. On the other hand, Mr Sonko took issue with registered voters who were missing from the party list being locked out of voting.
PLOT TO RIG POLLS
He said this was a plot to rig him out in favour of the former MP.
Moments after voting at Bahati Primary School in Makadara constituency, Mr Kenneth claimed that polling clerks had no way of checking who votes.
“We should have some uniformity. We have irregularities across the board. At some polling stations, there were no ballot papers,” he told journalists.
He also said polling clerks directed the elderly to queue which he argued could discourage them from voting.
Mr Sonko, who voted at Bidii Primary School in Makadara, alleged a plot by his party to rig him out by preventing his supporters from voting.
The senator claimed certain names have been “strategically omitted” from the party list in places where his supporters were to vote.
“The party must allow everyone who is registered by the IEBC to vote,” he said.
ALLOWED TO VOTE
His name was also missing from the party’s list but he was allowed to vote. “Yesterday (Tuesday) . I received assurances from the party that in case a name is missing from the party register, one would be allowed to vote using the IEBC register. Today, I have been to almost 100 polling stations and my supporters are being turned away because they are not on the membership list,” he said.
Moments later, the Jubilee Party’s National Elections Board chairman Andrew Musangi cancelled the use of national identity cards for all voters in the Nairobi County nominations.
Mr Musangi said the decision to use the party register instead of IDs and the IEBC register has begun in other counties, following findings that other political party members had “infiltrated the nominations”.
“Given the danger of people who have had a concerted effort to subvert the will of the Nairobi Jubilee voters, we have instructed our officers to use our party register instead of an ID,” said Mr Musangi.
On Monday, the party had said it will allow all voters who turn up for the Jubilee nominations to vote if they have an ID, even if they are not on the party’s roll of voters, but as long as they are registered voters by the IEBC.
Some voting centres, however, allowed voters to use only their IDs. In Mwangi Wanjigi Primary School, the exercise was delayed for the better part of the morning as the officials clashed over whether to use the 2013 voter list or not.
They settled on IDs.
Voters, however, claimed that some people had voted more than once. They also complained that some aspirants had transported voters from other parts of the city.
In Starehe constituency, both voters and aspirants said the party was using ink that was easily erased. “The party decided to use marker pens,” said Mr Kadir Galgallo, an aspirant for Ngara ward.
Reports by Stella Cherono, Aggrey Mutambo, Patrick Langat, Dennis Odunga and Collins Omulo