UDA nominations register low turnout

According to aspirants, the exercise went on smoothly, except for some polling stations that opened late due to logistical challenges. [File, Standard]

Low voter turnout marked nominations by UDA to pick its flagbearers in by-elections slated for next year.

In Kandara constituency, voter register mix-up and claims of bribery characterised the exercise.

The Kandara parliamentary seat fell vacant after Alice Wahome was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Water and Irrigation by President William Ruto.

Ms Wahome had secured the seat on a UDA ticket and now a total of 13 aspirants are hoping to secure the nomination ticket to vie for the position on January 5, 2023, by-elections.

Aspirants taking part in the nominations complained over a four-hour delay in opening the polls in at least 93 schools.

According to party officials, the delay was occasioned by a mix-up of voter registers for PCEA Naaro and Mahutia Primary School.

Aspirants led by radio journalist Everyln Waithira Muithirania claimed there were people giving out money, and packets of maize flour among other goodies to bribe voters.

Speaking at Nguthuru Primary School after she cast her vote, she said there was a need for the party officials to take action against those implicated in the irregularities in the management of the election.

"The police should take action to ensure those behind voter bribery are arrested for interfering with the process," said Waithira.

At Karumu Primary School, aspirant Injinia Stephen Mwaura said he was disappointed claiming some candidates were bribing voters.

"It is a pity that we have people who bribed voters contrary to party directives," said Injinia.

He said the voting exercise, started at 9.30 am at Naaro Primary School after the anomalies were corrected.

UDA Aspirant Chege Njuguna urged the residents to turn up in large numbers and pick the candidate they desire to lead them.

Others in the race are Andrew Kahenya, Raphael Kiome, former Murang'a deputy governor Maina Kamau and Kinuthia Ngacha.

There was tension at Karumu Primary School as voters protested at the venue claiming there were plans to rig the nominations.

Kandara Sub Police Commander Micheal Mwaura arrived at the school with a contingent of officers and ordered all the people who were idling around the polling centre after casting their votes to leave.

In Elgeyo Marakwet County, the nominations were held yesterday with 21 candidates seeking to succeed former Senator Kipchumba Murkomen.

Among the candidates are former Marakwet West MP William Kisang, entrepreneur Timothy Kipchumba, sitting South MCA Jonah Tanui, and activist Jerotich Seii.

Mr Murkomen was in October appointed Roads and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary.

According to aspirants, the exercise went on smoothly, except for some polling stations that opened late due to logistical challenges.

"Some polling stations opened late and had not received voting materials by 10 am. We are hoping that the exercise will be free and fair," Mr Kipchumba said, adding that there was a low voter turnout across the four sub-counties.

UDA Secretary General Veronica Maina and Principal Secretary Nominee Prof Julius Bitok toured several polling stations while supervising the exercise that started at 8 am in many of the county's 492 polling stations.

Speaking at Kapsowar Primary School in Marakwet West Constituency, Ms Maina who is also a nominated Senator assured UDA members that the exercise would be extended in polling stations that opened later than 7 am.