Kenya Kwanza and Azimio face off in Senate by-election today

IEBC officials sort out election material in preparation for Bungoma senatorial by-election. [Mumo Munuve, Standard]

The electoral commission has affirmed its readiness to conduct the Bungoma senatorial by-election that has attracted 11 candidates.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) distributed election materials to polling stations Wednesday in readiness for the voting today.

IEBC county boss Grace Rono assured the electorate and candidates of a free and fair election. 

Speaking in her office in Bungoma, Ms Rono told the candidates to adhere to the election conduct. 

“So far, you have behaved well. I now hope you know the last day for the campaigns was Tuesday and should we spot you or your agents at rallies we will have no option but to act against you,” she said. 

The seat fell vacant after Moses Wetang’ula resigned and vied for National Assembly Speaker post. 

On Tuesday, the candidates made final pitches to the electorate with each saying they are best suited to replace Mr Wetang’ula.

Former Bumula MP Mwambu Mabonga who is contesting on President William Ruto’s UDA ticket promised the electorate that he would easily push for goodies from the Kenya Kwanza government.

Ford Kenya candidate Wafula Wakoli promised to work tirelessly for the people if elected. 

On the other hand, former Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi of DAP-K an affiliate of Azimio is banking on his experience having represented the constituency for three terms. 

He said being a candidate of the opposition party he was better placed to oversight the administration of Bungoma Governor Ken Lusaka. 

Opinion polls have placed Mabonga, Wakoli and Wamunyinyi as front runners in the race to succeed Wetang’ula. 

Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale (UDA) drummed up support for Mabonga across the nine constituencies in the county.

Ford Kenya leader Wetang’ula and a host of party MPs in the region campaigned for Wakoli.

“Wafula is an intelligent, energetic young leader who has shown great leadership in the years I have worked with him. His performance record speaks for itself,” said the speaker.

Wamunyinyi on the other hand had the backing of Western Azimio chair and former Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya and immediate former Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa. 

“In Kakamega, we have Azimio Governor Fernandes Barasa (ODM) being checked by a Kenya Kwanza Senator Boni Khalwale (UDA). The same with Trans Nzoia where we have George Natembeya (DAP-K) being checked by Allan Chesang (UDA), so you should elect Wamunyinyi (Azimio) to check Lusaka (Ford-Kenya) to ensure things run smoothly,” said DAP-K patron Wamalwa.

Oparanya exuded confidence that the former MP will win, saying he is level-headed and experienced.

The other candidates in the race are Elias Barasa (People’s Empowerment Party) and Enock Opara, Julius Masinde and Radon Munoko (independents).  Others are Fredrick Busolo of Vibrant Democracy Party, Aaron Wafula (Republican Liberty Party), Geofrey Barasa (National Ordinary People Empowerment Union) and Robert Sifuna (Roots Party of Kenya).