Leaders lament low voter turnout in Bungoma senatorial mini-polls
Low voter turnout characterised the Bungoma senatorial by-election held yesterday.
By mid-day, most polling centres across the vast county had recorded low numbers.
In some polling centres, as few as three voters had turned up by 2pm. At midday, only nine people had turned up to vote at Bungoma DEB Primary School, which is in the centre of the town.
The Azimio candidate and former Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi complained of massive voter bribery, which he blamed on Ford Kenya.
Speaking at Ranje Primary School after casting his vote, Wamunyinyi accused Ford Kenya of engaging in voter bribery to tilt the outcome in its favour.
He asked the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to be vigilant and take stern action against those found guilty of election anomalies.
“On Monday, we had a fruitful meeting with the IEBC where we all agreed that nobody would be involved in any election malpractice; but still Ford Kenya is doing it,” Wamunyinyi said.
Wamunyinyi also accused Ford-K, led by National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula, of engaging in night campaigns after the set period had lapsed on Tuesday.
The United Democratic Alliance candidate and former Bumula MP Mwambu Mabonga appealed to Bungoma residents to vote.
“I know this mini-election has found many people away at work, but I want to encourage those still at home to come and elect their senator who will propel Bungoma to the next level,” Mwambu added, decrying low voter turnout.
Mwambu, at the same time, appealed to his opponents to maintain peace during the polls. “Let us vote and leave the remaining work to IEBC officials. There is no need to bribe voters to elect you … yet they know you aren’t equal to the task,” Mwambu said.
Wetang’ula called on Bungoma voters to cast their votes wisely. He expressed confidence that the Ford Kenya candidate, Wafula Wakoli, would carry the day. The election is viewed as a three-horse race between Wakoli, Wamunyinyi and Mabonga.
Wetang’ula said the party had conducted vigorous campaigns to deliver victory to Wakoli. But he decried the voter apathy that characterised yesterday’s voting.
As we went to press last night, counting of the votes was underway.