Ogola Kagoro (left), former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and KEMSA director Hesborn Omollo address journalists at Asumbi Primary School in Rangwe on May 18, 2024. [James Omoro, Standard]

Pockets of hitches hit the second round of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party elections as hundreds of supporters turned up to vote in Homa Bay and West Pokot counties.

In Homa Bay, some candidates claimed their names were missing from the register.

Former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, KEMSA Director Hesborn Omollo, and former Rangwe MP Martin Ogindo who were co-ordinating the elections said mechanisms had been put in place to address the challenges.

At Asumbi Primary School, Gem East Ward in Rangwe Constituency, some candidates did not find their names in the digital voting machine.

Kidero who voted at Asumbi Primary School, said they had agreed with the Returning and Presiding officers to introduce a hybrid voting method to address the problem. The hybrid method encompasses both digital and manual voting.

“We have realized a few hitches in which some candidates who registered and paid money to vie some positions have not found their names in the voting machine. We have agreed with the officials manning the elections to introduce the hybrid voting method so that the candidates can be voted for,” Dr Kidero said.

He said their aim was to ensure all the candidates get the opportunity for election.

“We want everybody who is vying any seat to get their right of being voted,” Kidero said.

Dr Kidero assured residents that UDA is introducing a system in which the will of the people prevails in election of the party officials.

“Our objective is to ensure that all officials in Homa Bay County are elected according to the will of the people,” Dr Kidero said.

A similar problem was also witnessed at Sero Primary School, Homa Bay Central Ward in Homa Bay Town Constituency.

Thomas Odoyo who was vying for the secretary post did not find his name on the digital ballot machine.

“I have found my name missing in the digital machine used for voting. This means my supporters cannot vote for me. I call on the party to give me a way forward,” Odoyo said.

However, Ogindo who was co-ordinating elections in the area after voting at Sero Primary School assured him and other candidates with similar cases that their issues were being resolved.

“We are communicating with the party elections board and the elections dispute resolution committee to ensure every candidate gets their right in this election,” said Ogindo.

He called on residents to be role models in demonstrating political maturity.

“Our elections are peaceful and I call on UDA supporters to be role models in showing political maturity in these elections,” Ogindo said.

Omollo told their opponents to accept that UDA is gaining rapid popularity in Homa Bay County and give one another democratic space.

“The popularity of UDA is rising rapidly in Homa Bay County. I urge our people to be peaceful and respect the democratic right of one another,” Omollo said.

The election was conducted at the ward level in which each of the 40 wards in Homa Bay got 20 officials. This gives a total of 800 officials who were elected in the county.

The voter’s register in the ward elections in the county had 18,000 delegates.

In West Pokot, Elijah Kasheusheu, a UDA-nominated member of the county assembly, praised supporters for the turnout.

"We are thrilled by the incredible response from the people of West Pokot. It signifies the community’s commitment to shaping the future electoral processes," he said.

"I have never seen such enthusiasm for an election in our community. People are eager for change, and they believe that UDA represents a fresh start for West Pokot," another member, Jane Cheptoo said.

Despite the enthusiasm, the elections were not devoid of controversies, with reports of logistical challenges and irregularities in some polling stations. 

UDA supporter Amos Rotich expressed confidence in the party's elections. He said: "The ongoing grassroots elections at the ward level across West Pokot County have been buzzing with anticipation," he proclaimed. "Let's rally behind Team Message and support their message of hope, unity, and prosperity for a brighter future for us all."

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