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ODM upset as Ford People's Richard Tongi wins Nyaribari Chache by-election

NYANZA
By Kenan Miruka | December 31st 2013
Richard Tongi casts his vote during Monday's by-election. (Photo:Collins Oduor/Standard)

By Kenan Miruka

Kisii, Kenya: Richard Nyagaka Tongi of Ford People scored a major upset Monday by winning the Nyaribari Chache by-election.

Mr Tongi led his closest rival Chris Bichage of the Orange Democratic Movement by slightly over 800 votes.

Lying in third position was Robert Monda of The National Alliance (TNA). Earlier, Bichage was in the

lead with Monda close behind him, but this changed as more polling stations filed returns. It was a sweet victory for Tongi who filed the petition that saw Dr Bichage’s March 4 win nullified by the court.

Benson Musa Mogaka of Kenya Social Congress, James Kenani of NLP, John F Kennedy Omanga of Kanu and Rael Otundo of Narc Kenya came a distant fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh respectively.

The poll was marred by allegations of voter bribery and violence.

The results were relayed electronically and beamed live at the Keumbu Social Hall tallying centre.

Voting ended at 5pm but all voters on the queue were allowed to cast their votes. Counting started shortly after 5.30pm with the first results streaming in as from 6pm.

Early in the day, chaos broke out with legislators allied to the Jubilee and CORD coalitions allegedly exchanged blows at the police station amid accusations of voter bribery.

The exercise got off to a slow start despite slight hitches with the Electronic

Voter Identification Devices, which malfunctioned in some of the 110 polling stations in the constituency.

Low voter turnout characterised the exercise, which candidates including

Labour Party of Kenya’s James Kenani attributed to apathy occasioned by massive voter bribery and intimidation. However, towards midday chaos erupted in some parts of the constituency after agents allied to one coalition were arrested on allegations of voter bribery.

IEBC’s returning officer Robert Ng’eny confirmed three people, among them one woman, had been arrested at Taracha polling station on suspicion of doing campaigns on the polling day.

Two brothers to TNA candidate Robert Monda were also arrested and taken to Kisii Central Police Station where they were detained. They sustained injuries to the head and leg after being attacked by supporters of a rival candidate.

Later in the afternoon, Enock Mauti, brother to TNA candidate Robert Monda was among the five people who appeared before the Kisii Chief Magistrate Kibet Sambu charged with engaging in electoral malpractices.

Party agents Rose Gesare (KSC), David Mogaka, Gideon Bosire and Jason Obino (TNA) were also charged.

Only Ms Gesare had her charges read to her in court and was released on Sh100,000 bond. The magistrate, on grounds of lack of evidence quashed charges for the other four.

Mr Mauti and Mr Bosire were charged with attempting to bribe voters at Eremo and Jogoo Primary

School polling stations.

“This is a skeleton charge sheet so I order the prosecutor to go back to the drawing board and prepare a quality charge sheet that will allow the court to proceed with the case,” ruled Mr Sambu.

Through their lawyer Cyrus Minda, the two told the court that they had suffered serious injuries inflicted on them by bodyguards belonging to a known politician.

The lawyer also asked the court to order the prosecutor to provide witness statements and all documents pertaining the case.

Sambu ordered that the pleas be taken on January 2, 2014 as the office of the prosecutor makes changes to the charge sheet. Mauti and Mr Bosire were released on a cash bail of Sh50,000 each with similar surety.

David Mogaka and Jason Obino wondered why they were taken to court in the first instance yet therewas no charge sheet available for prosecution.

CORD supporters led by Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati had confronted Mauti near Kisii Bottlers Primary School polling station and arrested him at Jogoo estate in Kisii town after a brief car chase.

Mr Arati’s aide had to shoot in the air to disperse a mob that threatened to lynch the TNA agent who was allegedly carrying Sh50 notes worth an estimated Sh70,000.

“We had to make a citizen arrest because police appeared not to act on our reports. How can someone be carrying that kind of money on polling day? This goes further to show that our claims on planned intimidation and voter bribery were true,” said Arati.

The Dagoretti North MP further alleged that a section of the security agents were part of a wider scheme to disrupt the elections.

On learning about the development, Kitutu Chache North MP Jimmy Angwenyi and former Kitutu Masaba MP Walter Nyambati stormed the station and demanded that the arrested agents be released.

As the duo engaged Kisii Central OCPD Tom Mutisya in his office, CORD legislators led by Women Reps Mary Otara (Kisii) and Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay) arrived and tried to force entry into the office.

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