Voting in the ODM nominations in Taita Taveta has been thrown into disarray following delays in the delivery of ballot boxes and arrival of clerks from Mwatate.
The county’s ODM election coordinator, Mr Anderson Mwaloma, said the delay had been caused by a standoff between Governor John Mruttu and his opponent Thomas Mwadeghu.
Two rival groups allied to the two contestants clashed on Monday after Governor Mruttu alleged that Mr Mwadeghu had planned to rig him out.
“You know what happened yesterday. This made us not to distribute the materials yesterday as we had planned,” Mr Mwaloma said.
He however said the distribution of ballot boxes was underway to all wards across the county.
“We regret the delay but voting will start in an hour’s time in all polling centres across the county,” he said.
However, a spot check by the Nation at Mwanyambo and Social Services polling centres in Voi Constituency revealed that only a handful of voters had turned up to participate in the exercise.
Some of the voters said they would be forced to leave the centres due to the delays as they were heading to work.
“I came here very early but I am confused because the voting has not started and we have no communication from anyone on the time it will start. I think I will be forced to go to work because I cannot stay here not knowing what is going on,” said a voter, Ms Mary Mwakima.
Other aspirants in the ODM race are Jones Mwaruma who will face Richard Tairo in the senatorial race.
Hope Anisa will face Anastacia Wakesho in the quest for the woman representative’s ticket and in Mwatate Constituency, the current MP Andrew Mwadime will face Mr Chris Mwambingu.
Voi MP Jones Mlolwa, Taveta and Wundanyi parliamentary aspirants Ruth Lelewu and Ray Mwangola respectively received direct tickets from the party.
At the St Patrick’s Primary School in Matta Ward where Governor John Mruttu was expected to cast his vote, only 20 people had gathered by 8am to vote but there was no election official or materials in sight.
At the Ministry of Youth Centre polling station at Taveta, no official had arrived by 7am.
At Sowere Primary School, frustrated voters complained of the delays.
At Bomeni Bursary School which is one of the biggest polling centres, voters complained that wrangles among party officials caused the delays.
“We have been told that misunderstandings between Governor Mruttu and MP Thomas Mwadeghu caused this mess,” said Mr John Kwanzu, the polling station supervisor.
He said Mr Mwadeghu allegedly put his supporters as polling clerks leading to a protest by Mr Mruttu.
By 8.30am, Governor Mruttu was said to be in his Voi home.
The ODM office at Taveta had been closed with no official around.
In Nyamira, Governor Nyagarama, West Mugirango MP James Gesami and debutant, Dr John Kumenda, are scrambling for the ODM governor’s ticket today.
Voting in the primaries was expected to take place any time Tuesday morning.
Returning officer Florence Kebuba said both IEBC and party registers would be used in identifying voters.
There was confusion Monday even among the candidates on which list was to be used.
In Nakuru, there were also delays in the start of voting in the ODM primaries despite voters having arrived quite early.
Koinange Primary School polling station in Nakuru West was yet to open by 7am for the ODM nomination exercise.