High expectations in Raila’s Nyanza backyard
Residents of Nyanza have high expectations on today’s General Election, in which the region’s political kingpin Raila Odinga will make a fifth stab at the presidency.
Leading politicians in Raila’s Nyanza backyard are keen to ensure a high voter turnout and have put in place mechanisms to mobilise the electorate.
Volunteers on standby
Kisumu ODM Woman Representative candidate Ruth Odinga said more than 10,000 volunteers are on standby to convince people to vote. She called for more volunteers to wake up at dawn and mobilise people to vote for Raila.
Similar mobilisation is going on in several counties in Nyanza.
Ruth cautioned against any form of electoral violence that may affect the envisaged 100 per cent voter turnout, while asking the people of Kisumu to maintain peace throughout the election period.
Businesses are also expected to come to a standstill in the region, with voters trooping to various polling stations.
Yesterday, fishermen announced they would suspend work to vote. In Bondo and Rarieda sub-counties within Siaya county, the fisherfolk said they would stop their activities until after the General Election. Luanda K’Otieno Beach Management Unit (BMU) chairman George Otuoma said they had resolved that no one would fish until August 10, a day after the polls.
He said this would give the fisherfolk, and the general population near the beaches, ample time to vote.
“We have stopped any fishing activity at Luanda K’Otieno beach and its environs and told residents from other sub-counties to go back home and cast their votes”, said Otuoma. He said fishermen would only be allowed back on demonstration of an inked finger as proof of voting, adding that people who registered as voters elsewhere had been urged to return to their respective polling stations.
“We’ll deal with anybody who defies the order and could even deny them access to the lake,” he said.
In Kisumu city, business premises are expected to close to allow the owners and workers to vote. This follows last week’s announcement by acting city manager Abala Wanga that bars, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and open-air markets would close today.
“We have issued a circular notice to all business owners and traders to close their enterprises from 6am to 6pm,” declared Wanga.
Yesterday, residents remained upbeat that the elections would be credible and transparent.
Kisumu Residents’ Voice Association chairman Audi Ogada said they expect the electoral agency to deliver credible polls. He added that the polls would offer voters an opportunity to elect the ‘right leaders’.
“I expect IEBC to deliver a free, fair and credible election. This will help avert instances where we have experienced electoral violence,” he noted.
Ogada said they expect people to elect leaders with a transformative agenda, such as revival of collapsed industries and empowerment of businesses.
“All eligible voters will have the opportunity to cast their ballots,” he said.
Meanwhile, preparations for the polls are complete in the region. In Kisumu county, IEBC returning officer Solomon Mudanya said they have all-round logistics and ample security. He added that all election materials had been delivered from the county warehouse to the seven constituency tallying centres.
The IEBC official said adequate security personnel had been deployed to 1,170 polling stations in the county.
“As far as we are concerned, everything is ready for the elections,” Mudanya said.
He added that, so far, there have been no hitches, disclosing that they had met a security team led by county commissioner Josephine Ouko.