No security hitches in North Rift region, officials confirm
Voting yesterday kicked off smoothly in many parts of the North Rift with no major hitches reported.
Security was beefed up in the banditry-prone Kerio Valley with heavy deployment of security personnel as directed by Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i.
In Uasin Gishu county, voting materials were dispatched to all the 960 polling stations in the region without major hitches being witnessed.
County Returning Officer Irene Mutai urged voters to turn up in large numbers to exercise their democratic rights.
“Everything is going on smoothly. All election materials were dispatched early and Presiding Officers were in their various stations by 6 am,” said Ms Mutai.
“We assure the people that this exercise is going to be free and fair. We are going to give every candidate a level playing field to ensure people elect leaders of their choice,” said Mutai.
However, there was a standoff on Monday night after supporters of gubernatorial independent candidate Zedekiah Bundotich alias Buzeki clashed with those of UDA’s counterpart Jonathan Bii alias ‘Koti Moja’.
The confrontation ensued after claims emerged that there was a vehicle with marked ballot papers.
One person was seriously injured after he was shot following a confrontation with police.
Buzeki who cast his vote at Arap Moi Primary School in Ainabkoi constituency yesterday condemned the attack and accused his opponents of propagating violence.
“We fear there is a scheme to intimidate my supporters for them not to exercise their democratic right,” said Buzeki.
Mandago also condemned the incident and called on leaders in the region to restrain their supporters to maintain peace.
“I hope those behind the incident will be prosecuted and stern action taken against them. I call on my fellow leaders not to force residents to vote for them,” he said.
“Let’s sell our agenda and the people will make their choices at the ballot,” said Mandago.
The outgoing governor who cast his vote at Limyomoi primary school lauded IEBC for its efficiency and called on the residents to turn up in large numbers and exercise their democratic rights.
“We want to get the results by tomorrow and resume our normal duties. Voting will give you a chance to dictate policy formulation and how your resources will be managed. This is your chance to make the right decisions,” said Mandago is vying for the county’s senatorial seat.
He lauded residents for maintaining peace despite the region being mapped as one of the possible violent hotspots in the country. Chelilim also cast his vote at Kapsang primary school where he called for peaceful co-existence in the region.
“We may differ in ideologies but we are all Kenyans. Elections will come and go but we will remain as Kenyans,” said Chelilim.
In Baringo county, voting also kicked off smoothly with a high voter turnout being witnessed in the Baringo Central constituency.
At Kaptimbor Polling Station a high voter turnout was witnessed where close to ten per cent of the registered voters had voted within the first hour of the voting exercise.
The exercise started well with no hitches at the Centre which has three streams of 561 voters each.
“The only challenge we experienced was sorting the voter's list per stream for the first ten minutes, but afterwards the exercise has been smooth,” said Victor Kibet, a presiding officer.
At Kabarnet Deaf and Blind Polling station, 34 out of the 183 registered voters had already cast their votes representing close to 20 per cent of the voters at that particular polling centre.
Baringo Central Deputy Constituency, Returning Officer, Gilbert Ole Kitirne, was at the Polling Centre supervising the exercise, saying everything was going on smoothly with no hitches reported so far.
A spot-check by People Daily revealed that there were no crowds outside the Polling Centre with voters voting and leaving the vicinity in all the centres visited.
At Seguton Hills Primary School Polling Station, voting began as early as 6 am with a few of the voters rising early to cast the vote.
The Presiding Officer, Charles Kiplagat, said they expect more voters to turn up over the course of the day in large numbers at the Polling Station, which has two streams and 708 registered voters.
Keiyo North MP James Murgor, who voted at Kamariny Primary School expressed concern over the low turnout compared to the 2017 elections.
Dr Murgor trying to retain his seat as an independent candidate hoped that the turnout will improve as the exercise closed at 6 pm.