Patients pulled from wards as leaders chase high turn out

Patients were temporarily discharged from hospitals on Thursday and leaders mobilised transport for locals as Jubilee pulled all stops to ensure voters in its strongholds cast their ballots.

Traders closed their businesses and released workers to go and vote in the presidential rerun.

In Nyeri, the county hired 10 matatus to ferry patients from hospitals to various polling stations.

In combined efforts with county ambulances, eligible voters in hospital wards were being taken to their respective polling stations in the six sub-counties.

New mothers whose polling stations were within the hospital vicinity left their children in the care of nurses to go and vote.

More than 100 patients accompanied by nurses were taken out to cast their ballots.

The leaders reasoned that a high voter turn out would give President Uhuru Kenyatta a strong position in his re-election campaign.

Ms Elizabeth Wangechi, 63, said she had to vote to elect a leader of her choice who will ensure the country progresses.

The arrangement to get patients to polling stations was organised by Nyeri Governor Wahome Gakuru.

Two matatus were deployed to private hospitals including Consolata Mathari Mission Hospital.

Despite being confined to a wheelchair, Mr John Kahumbi, 52, said he had to vote as a show of his patriotism.

“I voted last time. And I must vote for the President today to ensure the country moves forward,” he said.

Twenty-one-year-old Virginia Wambura said she voted because of her love for the country.

In Murang’a, Mr Victor Ndung’u, who is physically challenge, voted at Kiambamba Primary School.

He had requested his family to hire a car for him to exercise his democratic right.

According to Mr Ndung’u, failing to vote was tantamount to giving opportunity to bad leaders.

The sick and disabled were given priority during voting.

Business people in the county gave their employees the day off to go and vote.

Bars and entertainment spots had been closed on Wednesday at 8pm to allow revellers time to participate in the poll.

Only a few public transport vehicles were operating, with some increasing fare to take advantage of the situation.

Local MPs led by Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira) and Kanini Kega (Kieni) had hired 18,300 youth to mobilise voters across the villages in efforts to attain high turn out.

Each of the 917 polling stations was ‘guarded’ by 20 mobilisers armed with a voter’s register.

At Gitwe polling station in Kipipiri, the exercise was paralysed for nearly two hours.

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