Claims of ID buying, bribery of agents, use of chiefs rock polls

Chiefs during a security meeting.

Chiefs during a security meeting. Allegations of buying of national IDs from prospective voters, attempts to bribe party polling agents and alleged scheme to deploy chiefs to influence the August 9 polls have rocked the presidential race.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Allegations of buying of national identity cards from prospective voters, attempts to bribe party polling agents and alleged scheme to deploy chiefs to influence the August 9 polls have rocked the presidential race, barely a week to the ballot.

Deputy President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance and Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition of Raila Odinga Saturday kicked up a storm accusing each other of engaging in dirty tricks to win the highly charged race.

Help 'deep state’ rig elections at your own risk, Ruto warns chiefs

Dr Ruto has accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of coercing chiefs and other civil servants into using their positions to help Mr Odinga win the succession race.

‘Buy out Azimio agents’

This as Jubilee Party, through its secretary-general Jeremiah Kioni, claimed that DP Ruto was also scheming to buy out Azimio poll agents, especially in Mt Kenya, where he enjoys substantive backing.

At the same time, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has admitted cases of unscrupulous individuals going around the country to buy ID cards from registered voters ahead of the elections.

Voters are required to carry their identification documents – ID or passport – to allow them cast their ballot.

“It has come to our attention that there are some people who are going round in a few areas buying IDs from voters,” IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said on Thursday.

The commission has since shared the information on the illegal buying of IDs with the Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai for investigations and subsequent action against the culprits.

No evidence to ID buying claims

Democratic Action Party of Kenya (DAP-K) secretary-general Eseli Simiyu accused Kenya Kwanza of engaging in the illegal buying of IDs in Western region, but could not provide evidence to support his claims.

Mr Simiyu told the Nation that voters in Western Kenya have become a target of the plot aimed at suppressing turnout. He claimed the individuals were giving at least Sh2, 000 for every ID surrendered.

“They (Kenya Kwanza) are doing it in areas where they don’t enjoy support. The people involved are going round at night to buy the IDs. They are taking advantage in our areas to buy the documents at Sh2,000,” said Dr Simiyu.

“I stopped reporting the cases because some of the election officials and the police in the area appear compromised; they are doing nothing about it,” he claimed.

Unscrupulous agents

A source who claimed to have been approached by the unscrupulous agents last week said that the cases are common in informal settlements in Nairobi.

The agents are said to be operating from 7pm to late in the night.

“It is usually through connections and it is a private game because they (agents) do not want to be known. They do not approach you directly but they are linked through relatives or neighbours,” the source said.

Other areas said to be targeted by the individuals are Kilifi, Mombasa and Nyamira.

Ms Elizabeth Meyo, the secretary of the Azimio campaign board and CEO of Raila Odinga campaign called on security machinery to crackdown on the illegality.

“We believe state security machinery will deal with such eventuality. It is in everyone's interest that we have a free and fair election, which Azimio is fully prepared to win. Anyone engaging in illegal activity around the electoral process will obviously be dealt with by the law,” said Ms Meyo.

Chiefs and state officers

Separately, the DP has also claimed that chiefs and other state officers were being forced to engage in activities meant to influence the outcome of the presidential polls.

Dr Ruto alleged of night meetings where the officials were being coerced to help Azimio candidate Mr Odinga win the elections.

He said in a social media post that the involvement of the chiefs to undermine the will of the people risk plunging the country into a conflict.

"Mr President, why are chiefs and other public servants being forced and threatened, in secret meetings, to undermine, manipulate and sabotage peaceful elections?" posed Dr Ruto.

"What will it benefit you to foment conflict among innocent Kenyans? Boss, let's not take the country this direction," he added.

Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wah alleged that the state was also planning to use the cash transfer to the elderly to blackmail the beneficiaries into backing Mr Odinga.

“Don’t try those things you are being told by a regime that is desperate to install a puppet project. Taking advantage of our elderly with their cash transfers on election day is something they tried in Kiambaa and failed,” said Mr Ichung’wah.

Mr Kioni told the Nation that Jubilee was aware of Kenya Kwanza plot to buy out its poll agents some days to the election.

Due diligence on agents

He said they were carrying out due diligence to ensure they do not pick agents who can be compromised.

“This is the week we are going to be training our agents. We are keen to engage them on what we have gathered on what UDA wants to do in our region. They are planning to bribe our agents. They had a meeting in my region where they also thought they could compromise poll agents,” said Mr Kioni without providing evidence.

He also claimed that some poll officials were biased against Azimio in the region and indicated plans to officially write to the IEBC over the matter.

But Murang’a UDA governor candidate Irungu Kang'ata dismissed the claims.

‘It’s propaganda’

Mr Kang’ata said their opponents were struggling to get agents in the region and have now resorted to propaganda.

“That is not true. It is only that Azimio has no agents here. Everyone has joined UDA,” he said.

Head of Mr Odinga’s of campaign and Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi, however, said they have put a system that cannot be infiltrated by their opponents.

“What I can assure you is that Kenya Kwanza has no capacity to infiltrate our systems. Take it from me that they have no capacity to compromise our systems,” said Mr Muriithi.

Ms Meyo also disclosed that the coalition has a solid list of agents and backups to deal with any possible attempts to buy agents by the opponent.


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