Joho’s rival asks IEBC to intervene over billboards

Governor Hassan Joho’s billboard at Buxton in Mombasa. Supporters of Joho’s rival Awiti Bolo threatened to destroy the billboard after Awiti’s were pulled down by county askaris. [Photo: Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Nyali MP Hezron Awiti Bolo has written to the IEBC asking the commission to punish Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho for propagating unfair electoral practices by denying his opponents a fair opportunity to advertise their agenda.

Political bickering

Awiti, who is running for governor on the Vibrant Democratic Party, claims Joho’s denial to advertise flouts Rule Seven of the Electoral Code of Conduct. His lawyer William Wameyo said the refusal to allow other candidates erect billboards and reach their potential voters breached the Electoral Code of Conduct which dictates that all candidates must be accorded equal treatment before the August 8 General Election.

“Our instructions are to request your intervention in the matter by invoking your powers under Rule Seven of the electoral code of conduct with regards to this matter,” said Wameyo.

But addressing the media Friday, Joho’s running William Kazungu Kingi said they were prepared to give up the sites because the matter has been politicised.

Higher intervention

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“We can donate the billboard sites, free of charge, to end the political bickering,” Dr Kingi said. He blamed Joho’s rivals — Awiti, Hassan Omar of Wiper and Suleiman Shahbal of Jubilee — of failing to apply for the 138 available billboard places in advance.

But the governor’s competitors said the private advertising firms had refused to offer them space following alleged instructions from the county government. Friday, Awiti and County Assembly Speaker Thadius Rajwayi appeared in court to answer charges of erecting billboards without permission from the county government.

They were charged with putting up the billboard along Ronald Ngala Road in Buxton without obtaining permission from the county government as required by law.

On Tuesday, police battled Awiti’s supporters at Buxton over the billboard saga.

Senator Omar has asked NASA principals to intervene over the dispute after his efforts to be allowed to erect eight billboards failed.

“We need fair competition in this election,” Omar said.

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