Lonyangapuo-Kachapin standoff over delayed governor results

Police engaging with protestors at Nasokol Girls Secondary School in West Pokot County on August 10, 2022

Police engaging with protestors at Nasokol Girls Secondary School- the Kapenguria constituency tallying center in West Pokot County on August 10, 2022.

Photo credit: Oscar Kakai | Nation Media Group

There was a standoff between West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo and former Governor Simon Kachapin over the delayed announcement of results in the governor’s race.

Each leader and their camps claimed they had won.

Tension was high, with more than 500 rowdy youths surrounding the Nasokol Girls Secondary School, the Kapenguria constituency tallying centre, which was under siege all night long on Wednesday.

They lit bonfires with mattresses outside the school gate while chanting praises of Mr Kachapin of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).

At some point, they threw stones at the main hall where tallying was taking place, blocking people from entering the school.

On the other side, supporters of Prof Lonyangapuo (Kenya Union Party) camped at the county tallying centre at Mtello Hall.

Police protection

Police officers had to surround and protect officials of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), other political leaders and journalists at the constituency tallying centre from being attacked by the youths, who vowed not to relent until the results were announced.

Drama started at 7pm after Mr Kachapin’s supporters demanded the release of the results. The youths hurled stones and damaged school property.

Goons at the gate snatched Kiems kits and forms 34A from the Kong’elai polling centre from a security officer at the gate, roughing him up because he had the ballot papers.

“We must get the Kiems kits or stop the tallying,” some said.

But county IEBC Returning Officer Joyce Wamalwa said they were not ballot papers but waste paper. "Those were only the remains of the papers,” she said.

Police arresting a lady who is alleged to have edited a form 34 A at Nasokol girls school Kapenguria constituency on 10/9/2022

Police arresting a lady who is alleged to have edited a form 34 A at Nasokol Girls Secondary School at the Kapenguria constituency tallying center in West Pokot County on August 10, 2022.

Photo credit: Oscar Kakai | Nation Media Group

Situation under control

West Pokot County Police Commandant Peter Katam said the situation was under control and three people had been arrested.

“They will be taken to court for malicious damage of property. They wanted to interfere with the whole process of tallying. They wanted to damage ballot boxes and ensure that there are no results because they know that one is going to lose,” he said.

He said that the youths damaged the school fence but were repulsed by police.

“We will not leave till the tallying is done. We have enough security,” he said.

He warned politicians against inciting people.

“There will be a winner and a loser, don’t intoxicate youths,” he said.

Tension

Tension remains high in the area following the incident.

The battle between Prof Lonyangapuo and Mr Kachapin is a rematch of the 2017 elections, when the former bagged 86,822 to beat the latter, who received 63,691.

Speaking on Kokwo FM, a vernacular local station, Prof Lonyangapuo accused his opponent of moving around with goons.

The governor, whose supporters were already celebrating at Mtello Hall, said he would not accept outside forces to interfere with the county’s affairs.

Mr Kachapin’s supporters were also in high spirits celebrating while accusing Prof Lonyangapuo of rigging the elections.

"We are here the whole night to guard our votes," a supporter said on Wednesday night.

Delay explained

Kapenguria constituency IEBC Returning Officer Enock Otara said the delay in announcing came because they wanted to issue credible results.

Tallying at the Kapenguria constituency tallying centre at Nasokol Girls Secondary School is still going on and youths are still surrounding the school.

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