Live Blog: UDA Primaries

UDA Primaries: Voting at Iten polling station in Elgeyo Marakwet County. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

The United Democratic Alliance (UDA) is conducting party primaries in several counties across the country today.

Nominations taking place are for the positions of Governor, Senator, Members of Parliament (MPs), Members of County Assembly (MCAs), and Woman Representative seats.

The Deputy President William Ruto-led party says it is ready to conduct a free and fair process.

Voting began as early as 7am at select polling stations across the country, with some regions reporting delayed ballot boxes.

The DP has brokered deals among key aspirants in Nairobi and Kakamega for the positions of Governor and Senator.

In Nairobi, Johnson Sakaja will run for Governor while Margaret Wanjiru will eye the senatorial seat under UDA.

In Kakamega, Cleophas Malala won the fight for governor seat against his then-fiercest rival Boni Khalwale, who will now seek to replace Malala at the Senate. Khalwale served as Kakamega’s first Senator when he won the seat in the March 4, 2013 General Election on Ford-Kenya ticket.

Bomet Women Representative Joyce Korir confronts officials at Tenwek High school. [Gilbert Kimutai, Standard]

In Bomet, aspirants including Senator Christopher Langat, Woman Rep Joyce Korir, ex-Mining CS John Mosonik and Nominated MP Wilson Sossion demanded postponement of the primaries over alleged rigging plot. "The ballot papers have been marked in favor of a particular candidate and there’s a defined lineup and team within this arrangement," said Sossion.

Voting in Nandi County was delayed due to fuel shortage as residents found themselves stranded at polling stations.

"It's unfortunate that the exercise started a little bit late but we have already acquired some vehicles to distribute the materials,” UDA county coordinator Josephat Tarbei said.

In Kericho, aspirants lamented the shortage of voting materials.

Former Area MP Jackson Rop claimed the polling station in Chilchila ward was the hardest hit. "We have decided that no voting will take place until all polling stations are supplied with enough voting materials," he said.

Voting was disrupted at Legebet Primary School in Soy, Uasin Gishu after an agent misled an elderly voter who sought his assistance.

Angry voters who claim to have witnessed the anomaly forced their way into the polling room to eject the agent. A police officer manning the station tried to restore calm in vain.

UDA party primaries in Nakuru kicked off with a false start in some polling stations.

The process was paralysed after aspirants and supporters disagreed with the clerks and presiding officers. Incumbent MCA Stephen Njoroge claimed there was an alleged plot to rig some aspirants out by some 'well-connected' competitors.

Security officers keep vigil at Rift Valley Technical Training Institute (RVTTI), as they await the distribution of nomination papers. [Peter Ochieng, Standard]

The party nominations have been postponed in Turkana Central and Turkana East regions owing to logistical challenges which are yet to be resolved.   

UDA Party official Raphael Chimera said the nominations will be held on April 19.

In Murang’a, several youths who had registered as voters in the 2017 General Election failed to participate in Thursday’s process.

They were turned away as their names were missing from the IEBC register. Murang'a Woman representative aspirant Rebecca Wagururu fell victim after she failed to cast her vote at Karima Mwaro centre.

UDA Returning officer for Kandara Duncan Kanyoro said they were using the register used in 2017.

There was little activity during the exercise in Meru County.

Though party primaries had been expected for MCA positions, it emerged that some wards already had preferred candidates among them Martin Koome (Nkuene Ward) in South Imenti and Simon Kiambi (Kiagu) in Central Imenti Constituency. Both Koome and Kiambi are elected Ward reps on Jubilee and UDA tickets respectively.

There was also however discontent with some political hopefuls crying foul.

Low voter turnout was also witnessed in parts of Nyeri and Kiambu Counties.

UDA nominations in Kiambu County were greatly marred by low voter turnout in most polling stations.

Kabete, Githunguri and Lari stations opened as early as 6 am but very few people trickled in, three to four hours later. No big queues were witnessed.

The Standard reported chaos at Biashara ward in Nakuru after aspirants decried favoritism to one contender by the polling clerks.

UDA primaries in numbers:

The nomination exercise took place in 36 counties.

At least 5000 people participated,

888 elective seats are being contested.

There are 49,811 election officials, and 16,513 polling centers across the country.

Report by Gilbert Kimutai, Edward Kosut, Nikko Tanui, Stephen Rutto, Kennedy Gachuhi, Boniface Gikandi, Phares Mutembei,  George Njunge, Stephanie Wangari and Betty Njeru.