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Anxiety in Nyanza as region waits for presidential results

Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate Raila Odinga casts his vote at Kibra in Nairobi on August 9, 2022. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

It was a see-saw of hope and anxiety in most of Nyanza as the long agonizing wait for the country’s next president began and presidential results started streaming in. The ever-changing results of the presidential candidates left many between despair and confidence.

In fact, the interest in the presidential race has overshadowed the race for other seats in Tuesday’s political contest. This came as the vote tallying process started off on a slow pace with only a handful of polling stations completing the exercise.

For example in Kisii, by 2pm, many Returning Officers were only halfway done with tabulation of results from different polling stations in the county. At Bobasi Constituency tallying centre, supporters of various candidates for the different seats broke out in songs and dances as their preferred leaders took commanding leads. This was a replicated at Kitutu Chache North, Nyaribari Masaba and Nyaribari Chache constituencies. 

At the Kisii County Tallying Centre at Kisii Polytechnic, police kept vigil with all those without Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission badges kept at bay. Azimio and Kwanza Kenya poll agents remained firm at various constituency tallying centers across the county even as results kept trickling in. ​

In some parts of the region, a section of residents broke into song and dance after some leaders who were eyeing local seats conceded defeat, hours into the counting exercise. But it is the wait for the presidential results that appeared to draw a lot of attention.

The region is optimistic that Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition presidential flagbearer Raila Odinga has finally cracked the tough jigsaw puzzle to win the State House race.

At Opoda in Bondo, several residents started streaming to his elder brother Oburu Oginga’s home which is located a few meters away from Raila’s. They broke into song and dance. Oburu exuded confidence that Raila will clinch the presidency and appealed for calm.

He noted that Azimio One Kenya alliance was confident of a win in the race for the top seat while Orange Democratic Movement party will also clinch several seats in the region.

“The exercise has just started. I think that the final results will favour my brother,” said Oburu.

Oburu Oginga. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

He said Raila was in a good mood and was optimistic about winning the seat. He claimed that a win for Raila would be a win for the country.

“God’s time is the best time. A win for Raila will be a win for all of us and for the whole country. We shall be very happy if he wins, “said Oburu. Spot checks by The Standard as well as interviews with several residents from the region established that there was great optimism that Raila will carry the day.

At Kondele, one of the areas where the ODM leader enjoys a lot of support, residents sat in groups to discuss the presidential results while some thronged entertainment spots to follow the proceedings on TV and radio. In one of the local bars, a number of residents who were following the presidential results told The Standard that they were optimistic that the stars are finally lined up for him.

They claimed they were hoping for his win, but declared that they would maintain peace even if the results do not go their way.  Fredrick Mula, a resident claimed that he had suspended his work as a hawker to follow the presidential results. “We have seen the results changing, but we are certain our candidate will win,” he said.

Candidates conceded

His comments were echoed by William Oluoch, another resident who claimed that they are anticipating celebrations should Raila clinch the seat.

“We know he is going to win and we are ready for celebrations,” he said.

In Suna West, supporters of ODM candidate Peter Masara broke into song and dance after one of the candidates Philip Kajimba conceded. Preliminary results indicated that Masara was leading after tallying was completed for 15 out of 116 polling stations.

The supporters who could not wait until the announcement of the results crowded Maranatha Faith Assemblies church’s gate where the tallying of the constituency’s votes were being done. It was dance and blowing of vuvuzela as they marched along Migori-Sirare road.

At some point, a supporter who was overwhelmed by emotions wept as she walked on her fours. She celebrated the MP’s early lead.

Voters queue to vote at a polling station in Kondele, Kisumu County on August 9, 2022. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

In Suna East Constituency, electorates expressed their satisfaction with the August 9 elections.

They said they were happy the elections were done peacefully and that they were patiently waiting for their candidates to be announced winner. Fred Alaro who is a resident of God Jope Ward said he was so happy that people had realized that Kenya needed peace.

He asked his fellow residents to accept any outcome that they would have gotten.

“I have seen those that will become our leaders are near. We are waiting for victory, but we pray for peace,” Mr Alaro said.

David Ombohe said he was surprised to see the county being peaceful during the August 9 elections. “I have seen the elections have been peaceful and it doesn’t look like we were voting,” Mr Ombohe said.