Sonko takes Nairobi County poll chief to task over voter education

Nairobi County Returning Officer Joseph Mele Eroo (right) gives a certificate to ODM senatorial candidate Edwin Sifuna at Kasarani Stadium. Photo: File, Standard

Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko has accused the electoral agency of failing to conduct civic education in the city.

This came at a time the commission is investigating six cases of night campaigns, defacing of posters, use of public resources and bribery claims among city aspirants from the two main political camps.

The senator said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission had failed to educated the residents and Kenyans at large on how to vote with just 18 days to the August 8 polls.

“I understand that the commission has a busy schedule as we move closer to the elections, but we need the city electorate to know how to vote correctly for their preferred candidates,” Sonko said.

Credible polls

He was speaking during a stakeholders’ forum organised by IEBC at Kasarani on Tuesday, which was attended by all the other city candidates for the governor, senator and women representative positions.

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Sonko sought assurance from the commission that it would hold free, credible and fair elections come August 8.

Nominated MP, Johnson Sakaja also sought to know what action IEBC would take against candidates defacing competitor’s posters. Sakaja who is now eying the senatorial seat, however, lauded the commission for inclusion of all stakeholders in preparations before the polls.

Wiper candidate Rameshchandra Gorasia, who is in the senatorial race, and woman rep aspirant Rahab Ndambuki, decried harassment by rowdy youths during rallies. They said the youths demanded handouts during rallies.

County Returning Officer Mele Eroo warned the candidates against voter bribery, saying they risked being disqualified from the elections.

“If the candidates do not adhere to the regulations, they shall be disqualified from the elections,” said Eroo.

Party agents

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The RO added the commission had started distributing election materials in Nairobi as well as training of the officers handling them.

“Non-strategic material such as ballot boxes and stamps have been dispatched to the 17 sub-counties and by Sunday we expect to have finished the distribution,” he said.

Eroo explained that out of the 3,378 polling stations, only one party agent would be allowed in each of the polling stations for all the elective seats. Nairobi County police boss Japheth Koome assured the candidates of security during and after the elections saying that he had increased security in light of some violence cases reported in the city.

He however said he could not guarantee that the police would not use force but said they had been trained to act reasonably.

“A detailed security plan has been adopted and it will include all security agencies,” said Koome.

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