Mt Kenya voters included octogenarian with 40-year voting streak

Octogenarian Kirinyaga

An 80-year-old woman Judy Wamunyu waiting to vote at Kiamugumo Primary School polling station in Kirinyaga county.She has been voting since 1970s.

Photo credit: George Munene I Nation Media Group

For more than four decades, Judy Wamunyu, 80, has been trooping to the Kiamugumo Primary School polling station in Kirinyaga County to vote.

Every election cycle, she turns out to exercise her democratic right.

The mother of eight has never missed voting in a General Election even when she was unwell.

She said she wants to see good leaders elected to govern the country.

"I feel duty-bound to participate in the elections so that I don't regret," she told Nation.Africa at Kiamugumo as she waited to cast her vote.

Ms Wamunyu did not go to school but she knows the importance of voting.

Alice Wambui

Alice Wambui who is 103 yeras old is helped to vote after she turned up to vote at Ndikwe Primary in Kiharu Constituency, Murang'a County. Wambui said she was doing so for the sake of future generation.

"I had no one to take me to school but I know that if I don't go to vote I will do a disservice to my country," Ms Wamunyu said.

She recollected that she started voting in the 1970s and all the leaders that she voted for did a good job.

"I go to vote because I would like to have honest and competent leaders. I admire incorruptible and hardworking leaders," she said.

She explained that Azimio la Umoja One Kenya running mate Martha Karua is one of the leaders she voted for previously.

"When Ms Karua entered politics in 1992, I voted for her as the Gichugu MP. Ms Karua held that position for 20 years, until she quit to seek the presidency. She motivated me to continue voting because she stood for the truth. She was an honest and development-conscious leader," she said.

The ailing Wamunyu said she would continue voting as long as she is alive.

"Like now, I'm sick. My legs are aching but I will camp here until I cast my vote. I'm confident the right leaders will be elected to take my county and the country forward. What I want to see after the polls is development and peace," said the octogenarian.

In Murang’a, Alice Wamboi, 103, turned up to vote at Ndikwe Primary in Kiharu constituency.

Ms Wambui said she was voting for the sake of future generations.

Gladys Gathoni

Kenya Kwanza presidential running mate Rigathi Gachagua's elderly aunt Gladys Gathoni being assisted by the Mathira MP (in caps) to go and vote at Sagana Primary in the constituency.

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi I Nation Media Group

Meanwhile, in Nanyuki, 35 prisoners at Nanyuki GK Prison voted for their favourite presidential candidates in today’s polls.

The station's presiding officer Angela Maina said voting ended at 10.30am without hiccups.

At Nanyuki Primary, there was a delay at Stream 2 for the better part of the morning because of malfunctioning Kiems kits. But the gadget was replaced and voting continued.

At the Nanyuki Kanu grounds, the largest station with 12 streams, voting went on smoothly though some voters were confused about which queue to join.

Laikipia East police boss John Tarus said voting was peaceful without any malpractices or chaos.

"The area is safe and voters are participating in the process without any incidents of insecurity," Mr Tarus said as he patrolled polling centres.

As of 4am, long queues were witnessed, including at Nanyuki DEB Primary School.

In Kirinyaga, low voter turnout marred the elections in the morning.

At Rukenya and Thumaita primary schools, only a few voters were seen casting their votes for the better part of the morning.

Queues were shorter there, suggesting voter apathy in the region.

Former Kirinyaga governor Joseph Ndathi, who is seeking to recapture his seat under The Service Party (TSP), expressed concerns about low turnout.

"Unlike in 2013 and 2017, this time the queues are shorter," said Mr Ndathi after casting his vote at Rukenya.

He appealed to residents to turn out in large numbers and elect leaders of their choice.

"It is still early in the morning and we expect more people to visit polling stations to vote. I urge residents not to stay at home. They should agree to exercise their democratic right so that they will not regret [not voting]," he said.

Mr Ndathi exuded confidence that he would triumph, but he promised to concede defeat if he loses in a fair political game.

He told his rivals to also accept defeat if he defeats them.

In Tharaka Nithi, voting was delayed when Kiems kits malfunctioned.

Voters nyeri

Voters verify their names from list pinned on a wall before voting at  polling station in Nyeri.

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi I Nation Media Group

Voting failed at the Giampampo polling station, where former Tharaka Nithi governor Samuel Ragwa, who is running for the Senate seat, voted.

Tharaka Nithi Jubilee governor candidate Erastus Njoka voted at Mukuthuku Primary.

In Muthara ward, voters were confronted with the longest ballot in Kenya. The ward has 27 MCA candidates.

Earlier, a war of words between the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) candidates and security agents marked the start of voting in the county.

Governor aspirant Irungu Kang'ata and Kandara MP aspirant Alice Wahome accused security agents of privately meeting with Azimio candidates.

But the government trashed the claims as propaganda and lies.

Mr Kang'ata had accused County Commissioner Karuku Ngumo of meeting at night with his competitor Jamleck Kamau (Jubilee).

"The aspirant used a [Toyota] Probox … to travel to Murang'a town to meet with the commissioner. For what purpose? I don't know. I urge all our supporters to remain vigilant against any monkey business," he said.

But Mr Ngumo dismissed the claims as unfounded.

He said security agents are not allied to any political formation and their participation in the General Election was purely within their constitutional mandate.

This came as some administrators in the area posted on their social media pages that Jubilee aspirants were their preferred candidates.

By George Munene, James Murimi, Alex Njeru, Mwangi Muiruri and Martin Mwaura

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