The highly anticipated Jubilee nominations flopped in Deputy President William Ruto’s Rift Valley backyard, with confusion and chaos characterising the exercise.
Voting failed to take off in Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Elgeyo Marakwet and Trans Nzoia counties after most aspirants complained of insufficient ballot papers and protested the use of the 2013 voters register.
Despite the party promising a peaceful and transparent exercise, the event turned out to be a sham and was marred by poor organisation, insufficient and late arrival of voting materials and confusion, leaving thousands of party supporters disappointed.
In Eldoret town, a huge number of supporters streamed into polling stations as early as 4am, only to be informed at mid-morning that the exercise would not take place. At the MV Patel Hall in Eldoret town, the most populous voting centre, elections officials locked themselves in as supporters declared that they would not leave until they were allowed to vote.
Priscilla Cherop, an agent, said the voting process would deny supporters a chance to elect leaders of their choice. “It is absurd that in a polling station like MV Patel Hall where there are more than 17,000 voters, only 3,000 ballot papers were brought,” she said.
In Chebarus and Kiplegetet polling stations of Moiben Constituency, election officials were forced to remove voting materials after angry voters attempted to set them ablaze.
By 11.30am, crowds had started building up in the streets of Eldoret town, even as security was intensified to prevent violence as political temperatures rose.
As the confusion ensued, more than 100 disgruntled aspirants led by Governor Jackson Mandago, Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi and Nandi Hills legislator Alfred Keter from neighbouring Nandi County converged at the Eldoret Sports Club with their supporters. They declared that they would not allow the elections to go on.
“There are serious mishaps as the (elections) board has not adopted the updated register of voters. The 2013 register locks out more than 106,000 new voters,” Mandago said.
Gladys Shollei, an aspirant for the Uasin Gishu Woman Representative seat, demanded an apology from Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju for the confusion. But Tuju insisted that the party primaries would go on as planned, before issuing a statement later in the day cancelling the nominations.
“We are going to throw Tuju and his team out of office, they are an embarrassment to the party,” Keter told a crowd at Eldoret’s Oginga Odinga Street.
Business magnate Zedekiah Buzeki Kiprop, who is also eyeing the Jubilee ticket for the Uasin Gishu governor’s seat, dismissed claims that ballot papers had been marked in his favour.
“Claims that there is a preferred list are false. It is being peddled by an individual who is yet to produce his manifesto and is just playing ethnic politics,” said Buzeki.
Mandago and his convoy snaked through the town addressing supporters, urging them to reject any attempt to rig the polls. Buzeki maintained a low profile.