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Chaos as key Jubilee aspirants boycott party nominations citing massive irregularities

Kirinyaga Gubernatorial aspirant Anne Waiguru arrives at the Kiamugumo primary school polling center in Gichugu constituency where she termed the Jubilee party nominations a sham wondering how the center which has over 1800 voters was supplied with 200 ballot papers for the gubernatorial race, April 21, 2017. [PHOTO: Mose Sammy, Standard]

Boycott by key aspirants and poor preparations marred the start of Jubilee Party primaries in its Mt Kenya stronghold on Friday.

Claims of rigging emerged in Nyeri, with a bundle of pre-marked ballot papers intercepted in Mukurwe-ini. A suspect was locked up at Mukurwe-ini Police Station after ballot papers were found in his car. The suspect had pre-marked ballots in favour of a gubernatorial aspirant, a senatorial aspirant and a Tetu constituency aspirant.

From Embu, Nyeri, Meru to Tharaka Nithi, there was chaos as materials arrived late in polling centres and to add insult to injury, they were too few to cater for the anxious voters. Kirinyaga gubernatorial aspirant and former Devolution CS Anne Waiguru and Runyenjes MP Cecily Mbarire, eyeing the Embu governorship, were among those who boycotted the polls.

Confusion reigned all over the place as voting materials arrived as late as in the afternoon, hours after hundreds of voters had given up after standing on long queues since the break of dawn. In most counties, the problems ranged from shortage of ballot papers to confusion over the usage of either the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) register or the party membership one.

Voting aborted at a polling centre in Gichugu after an angry Waiguru alleged a plot to rig her out. Waiguru, who came to the Kiamugumo Primary School polling centre accompanied by ticket mate Peter Ndambir, questioned why JP had provided ballot papers fewer than the number of registered voters. She said she would not participate in the nominations.

“I am not participating in this sham exercise neither will I accept any announcement of results in Kirinyaga,” Waiguru said. Polling clerks said they had been instructed that additional ballot papers would be provided later in the day but Waiguru and her supporters would hear none of that.

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Angry voters

“It is an embarrassment to Jubilee Party that this will happen to us. The party should stop pretending that there was an election and call us when they are ready,” she said.

After that, angry voters forced their way into the polling station and vandalised the ballot boxes, school desks and windows. Across most polling centres, voting kicked off at 1pm. At Kathiga Primary School in Mwea, the primaries did not take place. At 3pm, only the ballot boxes had been delivered. Residents temporarily barricaded the road and burnt twigs and old tyres to protest. In Embu, an angry Mbarire boycotted the exercise and called for cancellation of the nominations. In Meru, there was drama and tension as voter registers went missing. The process was delayed in major polling centres in Igembe. In Igembe Central, voting kicked off in a few polling stations at about 9.30am.

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