ODM candidate wins in Kajiado Central
By Peterson Githaiga and Rawlings Otieno
| March 17th 2015
Kajiado, Kenya: It was a tight race between President Uhuru Kenyatta’s candidate in Kajiado Central by-election and that of Opposition leader Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement, with the gap for the most part being just ten or so votes – but finally the provisional results gave the victory to the Orange flag-bearer.
ODM’s Elijah Memusi Kanchory (37) polled 15,662 against the Jubilee Alliance Party’s candidate Patrick Koinary Tutui (53) who got 14,856.
Trailing far behind with 100 votes was theologian Tunai Nkashuma who ran on an independent party ticket. This was based on returns from 100 out of 102 polling stations as at 10.05pm, last night.
As the results trickled in last night, the top two candidates kept switching positions in the ranking order, at times the top one being brought down by the next polling station reported, then taken up again by the subsequent one in the contest that appeared too close to call.
It painted the picture of a constituency split in support for the two candidates who both ran for the Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP) primaries in which Kanchori bitterly contested Tutui's score of 10,502 against his 8,848.
Kanchori later defected to ODM, where he was eventually nominated with 9,523 votes against his closest rival who polled 1,497 votes.
After President Uhuru and Raila plunged into the campaigns, the Kajiado Central parliamentary by-election was bound to be an explosive contest and it lived up to its billing of a hotly contested race.
ODM was fighting to recapture a seat that was held by Mr Joseph Nkaissery until Uhuru plucked him from the Opposition benches to serve as Interior Cabinet Secretary.
With slightly more than half of the polling stations (54) having reported their tally, Memusi had a 150-vote lead over Tutui, with the candidates polling 6,699 and 6,549 respectively. But from eight the race got tighter with Memusi having 9,411 and Tutui 9,402 - just nine votes ahead.
However, the Independent candidate, Kuntai Nkashuma, trailed the frontrunners by a wide margin - hardly garnering 100 votes before 8:50pm when the two were both past the 13,000 mark. With eight polling stations left at 9pm, Memusi was 293 votes ahead of Tutui, who had 13,765 against his 14,058. Nkashuma was crawling towards the 100 vote mark with 89.
The hotly contested poll had 80 per cent turn-out amid claims of ineffective Electronic Identification Devices (EVID) and bribery allegations.
Three people were arrested at Alhuda Primary School in Kajiado Town for allegedly attempting to bribe voters. They were locked up at Kajiado Police Station.
Memusi is a businessman in the construction sector. He defected from JAP after losing to Tutui in the nominations. JAP is President Uhuru and Deputy William Ruto's 2017 election vehicle.
Tutui is a businessman in the clearing and forwarding sector. He was second to Nkaissery in the last General Election. Nkashuma, 35, is a former soldier and a pastor with Osuguta Baptist Church in Maili Tisa.
The seat was crucial to Jubilee because supporters styled it a "test-run" for JAP, which was eager to secure its first parliamentary seat ahead of the next General Election, with Ruto over the weekend calling for disbandment of all Jubilee affiliate parties to pave way for the alliance without internal fragmentation.
On the other hand, ODM was keen to recapture the seat once held by one of its lieutenant, Nkaissery, whose appointment to Cabinet the Opposition contested, alleging a government ploy to weaken the opposition in Parliament.
It is because of such high stakes that the month-long campaign saw both the ruling Jubilee Alliance and the Opposition's Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) dispatch high-profile teams to campaign for their respective candidates.
Last Monday, President Uhuru and Ruto led over 30 MPs in day-long campaigns for Tutui.
Earlier Ruto had visited the area twice and stressed the importance the government had attached to the by-election especially given it was the first contest for JAP.
Area politicians aligned to JAP had promised to deliver a win for Tutui as reciprocation for the appointment of Nkaissery to the powerful Internal Security docket.
And Raila toured the area three times - the last immediately after the President's visit - to persuade voters to elect Memusi before leaving for Morocco.
Political pundits and opinion leaders argue that Maili Tisa and Namanga which have a majority of voters influenced the outcome of the poll.
Yesterday, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Vice Chair Lilian Mahiri-Zaja said the turn out was better compared to other mini-elections. "The voting has been smooth, people have come out in large numbers unlike in other (by-) elections. Many places have recorded a high voter turn-out," explained Zaja.
IEBC Commissioner Thomas Letangule said during the day the voter turn out was about 50 per cent but had risen to 70 per cent by the close of voting at 5pm.
Turnout was impressive in urban centres compared to the rural areas. The situation was attributed to the drought season that had prompted majority of the young men to migrate in search of pasture and water for their livestock.
Earlier ODM Director of Elections Junet Mohamed had alleged voter bribery and accused some MPs allied to JAP of abetting the vice.
But JAP dismissed the claims and dared CORD to present evidence of malpractices. "We have witnessed some form of voter bribery in the area. This is unacceptable and we want IEBC to investigate and find out the truth," Junet claimed.
However the Suna East MP was confident their candidate would triumph.
"JAP is a baby still in diapers and cannot compete with a party like ODM that has been here since 2005. We have not been worried about JAP because the two parties are not in any way comparable to each other. We were not shaken by them," boasted Mohamed.
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