Mwakwere takes early lead in Matuga poll

Voters on the queue at Kirudini polling station wait to cast their votes in the Matuga by-elections on Monday. Photo/LABAN WALLOGA

Former MP Chirau Ali Mwakwere was in an early lead for the Matuga parliamentary by-election, with sixty per cent of the votes already counted by 10 pm Monday night

With results in 60 out of 101 polling stations, Mr Mwakwere (Party of National Unity, PNU) was having 10490, votes against Orange Democratic Movement Hassan Mwanyoha's 8320 votes, and Kassim Tandaza of United Democratic Movement with 1392. Candidate Isaac Mutula of the Liberal Party of Kenya had 73 votes.

The results are being transmitted electronically from the polling centres to a tallying centre in Nairobi.

Voting in the hotly contested race had gone on from early morning until 6pm on the day, an exercise that threatened to degenerate into chaos. A councilor was shot and a car burnt as rival groups confronted one another.

Candidates arrived at polling stations in their strongholds accompanied by campaigners and cast their votes amid fun-fare and in the glare of television of cameras of hordes of journalists covering the high-profile by-election.

Mr Mutula was at Kichakasimba primary school in Shimba Hills where he cast his vote at 9.55am.

His rivals Kassim Tandaza (UDM) voted at Iqra Nursery School in Tsimba; Mr Hassan Mwanyoha of Orange Democratic Movement at Vunani Primary School in Tiwi at 7.15am while Mr Mwakwere (PNU) arrived at Ziwani Primary School in Kwale where he voted at 9.20am.

Mr Mwakwere was later in a stand-off at Kombani polling station following a disagreement with the presiding officers after the latter allegedly blocked him from entering.

The Matuga seat fell vacant on February 5 after Mombasa High Court judge Mohamed Ibrahim nullified the elections, following a petition.