KAKAMEGA DECIDES: Low voter turnout witnessed in Kakamega governorship race as Oparanya, Barasa claim Malala is bribing voters

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An empty polling station

The county has a total of 844, 709 registered voters. The election will decide who will be taking over from Governor Wycliffe Oparanya who has been in power for 10 years.

By Seliphar Musungu and Dennis Avokoywa, Kakamega

The Kakamega gubernatorial elections was marred by voter apathy with low number of voters turning up to cast their votes.

Unlike in the past where long queues are normally witnessed at polling stations, this time round, a handful of voters could be seen at various polling centers across the county exercising their democratic right.

For example, a total of 178 votes out of the 1,906 registered voters had casted their votes in Bukhungu polling center located in Lurambi constituency by 10:00am.

Fernandes Barasa (second right) with his wife Prof Janet Kasili arrive at Bulimbo primary school in Matungu constituency to cast thier votes - Photo/Dennis Avokoyo/County Splash

Other centers such as Kakamega primary, Kakamega Muslim primary, ACK Church Milimani and Sichirayi polling stations also witnessed a hand full number of voters.

One of the seven candidates in the Kakamega gubernatorial race Suleiman Sumba of Kanu speaking after casting his vote at Mumias Township primary school polling station, complained that some of the Kiems kits in different polling stations had failed delaying the voting exercise. 

Kisii Governor Simba Arati in Malala guading ODM votes. In this photo, he was interacting with the voters

At Mumias Township primary school polling station, delays in voting were experienced after the failure of one Kiems kit at stream three. The problem was later resolved with voting kicking off few minutes after 8 am.

“I came here at 7.30am but the voting exercise had not started as one of the KIEMS kit was not working and even at Mumias Muslim primary school. The situation was rectified and voting started at 8am,” said Sumba

Sumba lamented that the exercise had witnessed a low voter turnout and blamed it on the postponement of the gubernatorial elections by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Voters at a polling station

However, Mr Sumba said he will accept the outcome of the polls, saying the voters would have spoken and their voice should be respected.

 As at 10:00a.m Fernandes Barasa, the ODM gubernatorial candidate had voted in Bulimbo polling station in Matungu constituency.

However, Barasa called upon the electoral agency to take a stern action against Cleophas Malala, the ANC candidate and his closet rival in the race for breaking election laws.

Barasa claimed that his opponent is buying voters in many polling stations in the county.

“I have traversed Matungu Constituency, and in almost all the polling stations, there is a lot of voter bribery, which in my considered opinion is an election offense,” Barasa said.

Bukhungu stadium polling station

Barasa urged IEBC to take action towards his opponent since he had already reported matters to the security agencies to be vigilant.

“I would like to urge IEBC and security agencies to make sure they take action so that people can vote without intimidation.” Said Barasa

He explained that most polling stations in the county have reported incidents of voter bribery 

“We have evidence, in fact when you move around you will see that voter bribery is rampant and we have already reported to the relevant authorities.” He said 

Malala voted at 11.00am at the Bukhungu polling station in Kakamega town.

Outgoing Governor Wycliffe Oparanya after casting his vote at Mabole Primary School in Butere Sub County, he said that they have identified the person who hacked his Facebook account.

Outgoing Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya

Oparanya said action will be taken against the individual and will be dealt with as per the Cybercrimes Act of 2020.

The governor also blamed Malala of trying to influence the outcome of the election through voter bribery.

“The people arrested are from ANC party which is supporting Malala. They were engaging themselves in cases of voter bribery. We have also noted cases failure of KIEMS Kits. The cases are rampant and has delayed people from voting,” said Oparanya

He also lamented that the voter turnout was very low and exuded confidence that the ODM candidate Mr Barasa will carry the day.

Kakamega gubernatorial aspirant Cleophas Malala addressing the media.

Am Azimio supporter, if am supporting anybody I will be supporting Azimio candidate and hopefully he will get the seat and if he doesn’t, be it. The next governor must continue from where I left as I have projects that are yet to be completed,” said Oparanya

Kisii Governor Simba Arati is in Malava Sub County guarding ODM votes.

Ends

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