Chaos, low voter turnout mar Nakuru UDA primaries

UDA polls

 Voting at Koinange Primary and Muslim Primary in Nakuru West were called off  after armed youth stormed the polling centres and made away with mobile  phones and election material.

Photo credit: Mercy Koskey | Nation Media Group

Low voter turnout, delays and chaos on Tuesday marred United Democratic Alliance party primaries in Rongai, Nakuru West and Biashara Ward in Nakuru County.

In Nakuru Town West, voting was called off in two polling stations-Koinange Primary and Muslim Primary-after armed youth stormed the polling stations and made away with election material and mobile phones.

Eye witnesses said the more than 30 youths, armed with swords and other crude weapons, stormed the polling centre and ordered everyone to lie down before they took off with ballot papers, boxes and   mobile phones belonging to the election officials. Police are pursuing the goons who escaped on motorcycles.

UDA primaries in Nakuru West called off after armed youths storm polling centre.

In Rongai Constituency, where the primaries were being repeated, the exercise was marked by low voter turnout. Voting was scheduled to begin at 6am but by 7:30am, the exercise had not begun in most of the polling stations. UDA officials had not reported and voting materials were not ready by then

Deloraine Nursery Centre area in Salgaa, for instance, experienced a low turnout such that by 11 am only five people had voted.  At Sigito Kobor and Ngendaptich primary schools in Solai, a standoff was witnessed after two factions clashed over the conduct of the poll officials.

Mr Raymond Komen, an aspirant, complained that the poll officials had marked all the ballots in favour of his opponent. According to Mr Komen the exercise at the two polling centres was fraudulent.  

"We shall not accept the fraudulent results from those centres and it is high time the party leadership cancels them," said Mr Komen.

UDA polls

 Voting at Koinange Primary and Muslim Primary in Nakuru West were called off  after armed youth stormed the polling centres and made away with mobile  phones and election material.

Photo credit: Mercy Koskey | Nation Media Group

The two groups nearly engaged in fist fights.

In Chelitit Primary School polling centre in Solai, voting had not started by noon.  Election materials were yet to arrive.

However, voting in Biashara Ward in Nakuru City, took place without any hitch.

Unlike last week, when the party primaries in Biashara Ward were marred with drama, confusion, delays and rigging claims, Tuesday's exercise was largely peaceful.

Favourite aspirant

The primaries are also taking place in the cosmopolitan Nakuru West constituency, for the first time, where voters are expected to choose a UDA aspirant who will face the incumbent Samuel Arama (Jubilee) and Andrew Ochoki (Orange Democratic Movement party).

A spot check by the Nation.Africa revealed that the exercise was peaceful with voters turning up as early as 5am ready to vote.

"I arrived here at 5:20 am to vote for my favourite aspirant. So far the exercise is peaceful and more organised than last week when we had to wait for election material to be distributed to various polling centres. We expect voting to continue peacefully throughout the day," Mr John Kariuki, a voter in Biashara Ward, told the Nation.Africa.

The UDA party National Elections Board ordered a repeat of the exercise in Rongai and Biashara Ward after last Thursday exercise was marred with irregularities, chaos and rigging claims.

In Rongai, the UDA party is looking for a strong candidate to face the late President Daniel Moi's son Raymond Moi (Kanu) in the August 9 General Election.

The ticket is hotly contested by Mr Paul Chebor, a former Solai ward representative and Mr Raymond Komen, a former Nakuru County Tourism and Trade executive committee member.

On Tuesday, an aspirant Gladys Kamuren announced that she has backed her competitor Paul Chebor in the exercise.

"Just to confirm to my voters that a vote for Gladys Kamuren today will be a spoiled vote. Please vote for Mr Paul Kibet Chebor instead," she posted on her social media accounts.

In last week's exercise Mr Chebor, emerged the winner in a hotly contested exercise that was marred by chaos and irregularities.

In the disputed results, Chebor garnered 8,428 votes while his closest challenger Raymond Komen got 7,973 votes, a difference of 1,055 votes. The other three other candidates managed below 500 votes.

However, Raymond Komen rejected the results claiming they were fraudulent and that they were marred by various irregularities including stuffing of ballot boxes and alteration of figures on forms signed by his agents.

After assessing the claims, the UDA National Elections Board has now ordered for a repeat of the exercise.

In Nakuru West UDA wants to field a strong candidate in a bid to secure a win in the heavily cosmopolitan constituency currently led by second term MP Samuel Arama (Jubilee Party).

In Nakuru West three aspirants are squaring it out for the party ticket.

Ms Fransisca Kamuren faces a tough contest against seasoned politicians who include former Nakuru Town deputy mayor Mwangi Kariko, Mr Richard Obino and long serving Shabab Ward MCA Kamau Githengi.

In Biashara Ward five candidates are battling it out for the UDA ticket.

They include Mr Fadhili Msuri, the man who was declared the winner in the aborted primaries last week, incumbent Peter Wa Nyaguthie, former MCA Stephen Kuria among others.

Additional reporting by Joseph Openda

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