What you need to know:
- Candidates are banking on the perceived strongholds to have an edge over their rivals.
- Mr Bader is looking forward to win in Ukunda and Kinondo ward where he lived with his uncle, Mr Dori.
Voters in Msambweni constituency will today elect their representative in the National Assembly, the first poll to be conducted while observing Covid-19 health protocols.
The constituency has been without a Member of Parliament since March following the death of Mr Suleiman Dori (ODM).M
Yesterday, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) said 69,003 voters are eligible to cast their ballots following verification of the register.
Eight candidates are vying for the seat that Mr Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is looking to recapture to demonstrate its influence in the region in the face of spirited campaigns by Deputy President William Ruto’s camp that backed an independent candidate.
ODM’s Omar Boga and Mr Feisal Bader (independent) are viewed as the frontrunners. Other candidates are independents Charles Bilali and Mansury Kumaka. Party-sponsored contenders also include Marere Wamwachai (National Vision Party), Hassan Mwakulonda (Party of Economic Democracy), Khamis Mwakaonje (United Green Movement) and Shee Abdulrahman (Wiper).
Voter register verification
Constituency Returning Officer Yusuf Abubakar said the agency had concluded the revision of the register: “We concluded voter register verification last week and I can confirm all the 69,003 voters have been captured ready for the voting exercise which starts at 6am and closes at 5pm.”
Speaking at Dr Babla Secondary School, the main tallying centre, Mr Abubakar urged voters to wear masks and observe social distancing.
He said the by-election will not be affected by the curfew hours particularly vote-counting, which could go on late into the night. He said the IEBC is working with the Ministry of Health and the Kenya Red Cross to ensure emergency issues that require medical attention are attended to speedily.
“We have liaised with the Ministry of Health and ambulances will be available,” he said. Mr Abubakar said voting materials had been delivered at the tallying centre awaiting to be transported to the 129 polling stations in the constituency. He pledged a free and fair elections: “We are acting as referees to ensure an even play ground. We don’t have a preferred candidate,” he said.
The government has deployed at least 300 police officers to beef up security in the constituency.
The by-election has witnessed intense campaigns that ended on Saturday.
During the campaigns, the candidates focused vote-hunting on populous areas across the four wards of Ukunda, Gombato/Bongwe, Kinondo and Ramisi.
Candidates are banking on the perceived strongholds to have an edge over their rivals.
Mr Bader is looking forward to win in Ukunda and Kinondo ward where he lived with his uncle, Mr Dori.
Ukunda has 21,500 registered voters while Kinondo has 11,014 voters
It is home to Mr Bilali while Ramisi ward with 18,569 voters is home to Abdulrahman and Mwakaonje and Ms Mwachai.
Mr Boga hails from Gombato/Bongwe ward that has 17,538 registered voters.
He served as an MCA for the ward until the 2017 General Election when he vied for the Msambweni seat against Dori.
Gombato/Bongwe Ward is also home to Kumaka and Mwakulonda.