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Voters burn ballot papers amid rigging claims in Jubilee nominations

Disgruntled voters on Monday burnt ballot papers and held demonstrations as anomalies hit the repeat of Jubilee nominations in Kirinyaga.

At Rukenya Primary School polling station in Gichugu Constituency, voters went berserk and set ablaze ballot papers protesting against the missing names of eight Member of the County Assembly aspirants.

Trouble started when polling clerks and a presiding officer opened the cartons containing the ballot materials and noticed that the names of the eight aspirants were missing from the ballot papers.

The officials informed the voters about the anomaly and urged them to be patient, however, the voters turned rowdy accusing them of attempting to rig the nominations.

“There is no way the nominations can kick off without the names of our aspirants. We shall not accept rigging in this area,” said a voter.

While shouting in protest, the voters confronted the officials and snatched the ballot papers and burnt them to ashes as the lone policeman who was guarding the station watched helplessly.

COMPLETELY DESTROYED

Moments later, armed security officers arrived under the command of Mr Hussein Arur only to find all the ballot papers completely destroyed.

At Ngurubani polling centre in Mwea Constituency, ballot papers had not arrived by 3pm despite the venue being an hour and a half away from Jubilee headquarters in Nairobi.

“When they want our votes, they fly in choppers but they cannot use the same choppers to fly ballot papers,” said Mr John Ndambiri, a voter.

However, the materials were flown in at 5pm. By the time of going to press, voting had started in all centres, with Jubilee regional coordinator Hudson Aluvansa saying polling centres would be kept open until all voters cast their ballot. However, in other centres, voting closed by 5pm.

Still in Mwea, former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru, who is contesting the gubernatorial seat, complained of an acute shortage of ballot papers.

ENOUGH BALLOT PAPERS

She said about 10,000 voters, especially in her strongholds, risked being locked out of the nominations because of lack of enough ballot papers.

In a rejoinder, however, Mwea returning officer Abraham Kariuki accused Ms Waiguru of exaggerating the shortage.

“We only have a shortage of 200 ballots in the whole constituency and the problem is being addressed. Soon the remaining ballot will be delivered,” he said.

In Ndia, voting went on smoothly in most parts. The MP, Mr Stephen Ngari, however complained that some of his agents were roughed up by his opponents.

He added that the turnout was low compared to the failed primaries on Friday.

Meanwhile in Nairobi, party secretary-general Raphael Tuju disowned a statement doing rounds in social media that the party disqualified an aspirant in Eldama Ravine.

CHALLENGING PROCESS

He said that neither himself nor Mr Andrew Musangi, National Elections Board chair, disqualified any aspirant in the ongoing primaries.

On the presence of Deputy President William Ruto at the headquarters, Mr Tuju said: “We are happy he is standing with us in this particular challenging process and he is being around to help us consult quickly and move forward the process.

However, he did not divulge for how long the DP would be there.

In Nyeri, senatorial aspirant Ephraim Maina denied reports of attempting to rig in the failed Jubilee primaries after 300 ballot papers marked in his favour were recovered by police in Mukurweini.

Mr Maina claimed that the papers had been marked by one of his rivals to muddy his name and misdirect police.

SENSING DEFEAT
“The said papers were recovered in presence of one of my rivals who hatched the plot after sensing defeat.

Police should have arrested and treated him as the first prime suspect. He wanted to create an impression of attempted rigging but failed,” said the aspirant at Outspan Hotel.

He was accompanied by MPs Kanini Kega (Kieni), Mary Wambui (Othaya), Kabando wa Kabando (Mukurweini) and Esther Murugi (Nyeri Town) who asked the party to provide updated lists of voters during the repeat polls.

In Bomet, the primaries were marred with irregularities as an election official was arrested with marked ballot papers.

The official was arrested at Matarmat polling station of Merigi ward in Bomet East Constituency.

MARKING BALLOT PAPERS

In Mogogosiek trading centre, the owner of a photocopying machine was arrested after he was found making copies of ballot papers.

In Kilifi, Jubilee officials were yesterday putting last efforts ahead of today’s primaries.

At Mtepeni Primary School, in Mtepeni Ward of Kilifi South, youthful entrepreneur and MCA aspirant Abel Kiptoo asked locals to vote for him.

Residents led by a Mr Ibrahim Kai endorsed him, saying that they will turn out in large numbers today to vote for him.

County election coordinator Dan Chome said all was set for the primaries.

Reports by George Munene, Kennedy Kimanthi, Joseph Wangui, Collins Omulo, Kazungu Samuel and Geoffrey Rono

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