, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 26 – Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko who is facing former MP Peter Kenneth in the battle for Jubilee Party’s Nairobi gubernatorial ticket has protested over what he said were unfair primaries even as polling got underway Wednesday.
While casting his vote at the Bidii Primary School in Makadara, Sonko raised alarm after finding out that his name was missing in the party register but was however allowed to vote after the Presiding Officer intervened.
“I have been going round to nearly 100 polling stations and the situation is the same – names are missing in the register. But I thank the Presiding Officer for his quick understanding because I was allowed to vote using my National Identity Card,” he said shortly after casting his vote.
The Senator claimed there was a scheme to disenfranchise his supporters saying his bid for Nairobi governorship is unstoppable.
He said his name will be on the August 8 ballot paper come what may.
“Both the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) register for 2013 is missing, the updated one for 2017 is also missing. You cannot blame voters for that. It is the responsibility of the party to make sure the register is available,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Sonko arrived at the Bahati Primary School in Madaraka accompanied by a group of supporters claiming that some names had been removed from the party roster under unexplained circumstances.
“The process is totally unfair, majority of my supporters have been denied the right to vote because their names do not appear on the party register despite the party ruling out on the same,” Sonko said after seeking audience with the officer in charge of the polling centre.
Sonko who arrived at the centre after his supporters raised concerns proceeded to a nearby polling center – Livingstone Primary School – where he made similar claims.
He said polling stations in Makongeni, Bahati and Dagoretti have also been affected urging the party to rectify the matter before voting continues.
“I don’t understand what is happening in Makongeni, Bahati and parts of Dagoretti. Some names starting with certain letters have been omitted from the register,” he said.
The party’s National Elections Board Chairperson Andrew Musangi had told the press at Jubilee headquarters in Pangani Tuesday that members whose names are missing on the party’s register will be allowed to cast their votes.
“I would like to restate for avoidance of doubt that if a member of the party turns out to vote, they will first check the party’s register. Now if their names are not in the register and they have a valid National Identity Card, they should be allowed to vote,” Musangi said.
“Their names will be entered in the register. Under no circumstances should such individuals be denied the opportunity to vote,” he affirmed.
Meanwhile, a spot-check by Capital FM News on Wednesday morning revealed that Nairobi residents had turned out in large numbers to vote for their preferred candidates in the ongoing primaries.
Those who spoke to Capital FM News at the Moi Avenue Primary School polling station in Nairobi’s CBD however registered their dissatisfaction saying the process did not start at 6am as expected.
“My name is Joseph Njehia and I am here to elect the person I want but the turn up is quite huge. It seems people don’t want jokes this time around, they want to elect people who will represent them,” a voter said.
“I was here very early myself but these guys opened late. We were here by 5 am but these guys opened the gate at 7 am,” another voter said calling upon officers deployed at the satiation to help speed up the process.
“We’re being told that we wait for agents to vote. We also have votes; I have been here since 3 am. This is not fair at all,” a voter told Capital FM News.
The polling in over 17 constituencies in Nairobi was expected to close by 6pm.