Anxiety in Mombasa County over postponement of governor election

Mombasa Governor aspirant Hassan Omar and his deputy, Selina Maitha address the press in Nyali, Mombasa. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Anxiety greeted the decision by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to postpone the Mombasa governor election with some candidates saying it will affect the presidential voter turnout.

The United Democratic Alliance (UDA) governor candidate Hassan Omar termed the decision by the IEBC as "extremely negligent" and suspected foul play, saying that the party had made inroads in Mombasa and Kakamega counties which had in the past been perceived to be Azimio strongholds.

Omar said that IEBC officials informed him of the decision and indicated that the elections will be held in two weeks’ time.

"It is extremely negligent on the part of IEBC because such a thing has never occurred in many elections. We read malice and mischief, but we are still ready for the election which we were informed will be conducted in two weeks’ time," said Omar.

ODM governor candidate and Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir’s running mate Francis Thoya said it also exposes IEBC to quality control measures.

“It complicates Azimio la Umoja coalition presidential candidate's path to victory. Mombasa and Kakamega counties are his strongholds. It will affect voter turnout,” said Mr Thoya.

Vibrant Democratic Party (VDP) candidate Awiti Bollo said the electoral agency poorly handled the Mombasa election preparedness saying by Monday, he had not received his accreditation.

“It was like the Mombasa governor election was set to fail from the start. To date, I’ve not received my badge to enable me access the polling centre. I’ve written to IEBC severally,” Bollo said.

Pamoja African Alliance (PAA) candidate Dr William Kingi said the deferment of the polls will make the exercise expensive for candidates who had recruited and trained the agents.

“It is extremely disappointing. I had spent a lot of financial resources because we knew the election will be today and we were headed for a win. We heard the decision from the media,” he said.

ODM Mombasa branch chairman Hamid Khamis said: “Although we are sure of retaining our seat even if an election will be conducted next year, this is not normal.”

While addressing the media, IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati said ballot papers for the Mombasa and Kakamega governor position had errors. He said the ballot papers had the wrong pictures for the candidates and details.

The race to succeed Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho has attracted seven candidates Nassir (ODM), Kingi (PAA), Awiti (VDP), Hassan Omar (UDA), Mr Said Abdalla (Usawa Kwa Wote), Daniel Kitsao (Independent) and Shafi Makazi of Upia.