Independent candidate Feisal Bader has won the Msambweni by-election, beating ODM’s Omar Boga.
Feisal garnered 15,251 votes trouncing his closest challenger, Boga, who got 10,444 votes.
Wiper’s Sheik Mahmoud Abdurahman came a distant third with 790 votes followed by Hamisi Mwakaonje Liganje(UGM) with 230 and Marere Wa Mwachai Mwarapayo(NVP) with 300, according to provisional results.
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Returning Officer Yusuf Abubakar declared Bader the winner of the hotly contested by-election on Wednesday morning.
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In his acceptance speech, Bader thanked voters for believing in him and extended an olive branch to his opponents, promising to work together with them to improve the constituency.
"I want to thank the people of Msambweni for believing in me. I want to thank all the people who walked with me through to victory. We will work with our opponents for the sake of our constituency," he said.
Earlier, the by-election had been rocked by drama, violence, arrests, and bribery claims that resulted in the arrest of former Machakos Senator Johnston Muthama, Belgut MP Nelson Koech and a man identified as John Kiarie (not the MP) over alleged election malpractices.
Police said Nyali MP Mohamed Ali and Lunga Lunga’s Khatib Mwashetani were also being sought over chaos at Jomo Kenyatta Primary School polling centre.
Muthama, Koech, Kiarie and another man identified only as Kipyegon were driven in a police vehicle from Msambweni to Mombasa, about 55km away, and booked at the Port police station.
They were grilled by anti-terror police before they were booked. By the time of going to press they were still in custody.
“Still being held incommunicado, tilting the playing field through threats, intimidation and arbitrary arrests will not change the will of the people. Our independent candidate, incoming MP Feisal (Bader) is winning with a great margin,” Muthama tweeted last night.
On Monday night, 56 agents of independent candidate Mr Bader were also arrested for violating the curfew and charged at the Kinondo court. They were fined Sh1,000 each.
And top police officers in Msambweni were reportedly ordered to stand-down and Lunga Lunga OCPD Peter Dzimbi took over security locally.
“We have the Lungalunga police boss here at Msambweni for election duties,” said Kwale County Police Commander Joseph Nthege.
Supporters of Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and Mwashetani also clashed at Jomo Kenyatta Primary School over claims of bribery of voters.
The Msambweni race was something of a do-or-die contest for ODM leader Raila Odinga and his rival Deputy President William Ruto. Raila recently said its outcome would have huge implications on the BBI referendum. Ruto was quietly supporting Feisal Bader.
On Saturday, Governors Hassan Ali Joho (Mombasa) and Salim Mvurya (Kwale) made their final appeals to the voters saying the poll will be determined their political future.
"It is up you now to decide whether Kwale will continue to be seen as a sub-county of another county," Mvurya said in his closing remarks at Mvindeni area of Ukunda ward.
He said he has over the years persevered insults and intimidation from leaders from a "neighbouring county" and called on Msambweni voters support his choice.
Mvurya supported Bader and has had a frosty relationship with Joho since 2016.
"I ask you to restore my dignity by voting in Bader. I have been abused enough and If Bader losses then my remaining years will be even worst," said Mvurya.
Since the start of the campaign, two months ago, Mvurya has criticized Joho accusing him of disrespecting Kwale leaders alleging he had introduced politics of confrontation.
On his part, Joho signed off the campaigns saying that the by-election will determine his political future and called on the voters to elect ODM's Omar Boga.
"If Boga losses this election it will greatly affect my political future. You must vote for ODM and Boga," he said at the final rally at Masai market in Ukunda.