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Bonchari mini poll marred by voter apathy, harassment and bribery

By Robert Ochoro
Tuesday, May 18th, 2021 18:30 | 3 mins read
Bonchari
Jubilee Party candidate Zebedeo Opores votes at Nyamiobo primary school polling station during Bonchari parliamentary mini poll on Tuesday,May 18:PHOTO/Robert Ochoro

The ongoing Bonchari mini polls were conducted amid instances of low voter turnout, bribery  and complaints by candidates over police harassment and intimidation by security officers.

According to Orange Democratic Movement ( ODM) candidate, Pavel Robert Oimeke, his agent at Nyamare primary school was arrested under mysterious circumstances, terming it unacceptable.

The candidate, who voted at the station at 10 am said one of his supporter, Riana Ward Representative, Vincent Moisabi was apprehended and taken to Gesonso police station.

“The arrest is meant to intimidate voters so that they do not up to vote. I urge the Returning Officer and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to intervene,” Oimeke told the press shortly after he cast his vote.

He deplored heavy presence of security officers and urged voters to turn up in large numbers at polling stations to exercise their democratic right.

Another candidate, Kevin Mosomi, Party of Democracy Unity ( PDU), who voted at Nyamokenye primary school polling station claimed the heavy presence of security officer had created fear among the electorate

He alleged supporters of some candidates were bribing voters as they headed to the polling stations so that they can vote for them, stressing it negated the principles of democracy,

“I urge candidates to maintain peace as results of the election trickle in at the Tallying Centre. I want the election to be conducted in an accountable and transparent manner. Mosomi told the press.

United Democratic Alliance (UDA) candidate, Teresa Bitutu, who cast her vote at Suneka primary school polling station, said her key campaigner had been arrested.

“We have heard cases of harassment by police. I pray to God that the election will go on well. People told me to vie” Bitutu told the Press at the station.

West Mugirango MP, Vincent Kemosi said on Monday night, police harassed supporters of the UDA candidate, adding ten supporters of UDA had been arrested.

“On Monday police were looking for me and others. We are aware we are on the radar and police want to arrest us,” Kemosi told the press.

He said they were concern with police intimidation and not their presence and appealed to Bonchari people not to be coerced to vote a certain individual.

ODM Executive Director, Oduor Ong’wen in statement said police stormed a consultative meeting at Bomorenda Ward Organized by Kisii County Member of Parliament, Janet Ong’era, attended by Migori Mp, Dr Pamella Odhiambo  and dispersed them

He said police lobbed tear gas canisters to members of the public who had come to find out what was happening, adding that on Thursday last week, they raided Governor Ongwea’s Maili Mbili residence and dispersed Senator Prof. Sam Ongeri, Odhiambo and Ongera.

The Director noted on Monday, unknown people raided the home of Kisii County ODM chairman, Kerosi Ondieki as he was driven  to his house with wife and children at Riamasagara in the outskirts of Suneka town.

“They took their driver hostage  took Ksh. 2000 from him and asked him if he was among the people who were bribing voters on behalf of ODM” reads part of the statement.

He said that on Monday night, police raided Ufanisi Resort where ODM secretary general, Edwin Sifuna are staying and ODM treasurer Timothy Bosire are staying with the intention to arrest Bosire for unspecified offence.

And, Jubilee Party chief Agent, Douglas Ogari said rivals attacked Bonyanchaire and Bomakombi Assistant chiefs, adding they took the latter’s motorbike by force.

He also said the party’s chief Agent for Itibo was slapped by UDA goons and challenged security officers to beef up security.

Ogari dismissed bribery allegations against the party saying the party conducted adequate campaign and Opore will win.

Kenya Social Congress Party candidate, defended heavy police presence in the area, saying they were doing their work and they were not interfering with the election.

He residents for maintaining peace and commended the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission ( IEBC) for conducting the elections fairly and transparently.

“ I hope the prevailing peace will continue till after the election is over and the result is announced” Ogega told the Press after he voted at Ekerore polling station.

A survey by the People Daily showed that security officers patrolled the area while others manned polling stations despite low turn out. 

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