UDA nominations: Chaos and complaints in Bomet, Embu

UDA nominations: Chaos and complaints in Bomet

Primary elections for Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) in Bomet were marred by claims that some ballot papers were pre-marked. This came in the early hours of Thursday morning as the party kicked off its nominations at 15,000 polling stations in 36 counties.

UDA nominations primaries kuresoi south

Residents of Dandora estate, Nairobi, queue to vote in the UDA nominations on April 14, 2022.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Some aspirants complained that some presiding officers took ballot materials to their homes and stayed with them overnight. They now want the UDA nominations called off until the issue is resolved.

Photo credit: Vitalis Kimutai | Nation Media Group

Some of the disgruntled party members were governor aspirant Dr John Mosonik, senator aspirant Wilson Sossion, and Bomet Central MP hopeful Joyce Korir.

Dr Mosonik is contesting against the incumbent Hillary Barchok in the race whose winner will then face ex-governor and Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) party leader Isaac Ruto.

Prof Barchok, who took over from Dr Joyce Laboso when she died in 2019, said he is the best placed to continue with the late governor’s legacy, while Dr Mosonik is banking on his stint in the Roads ministry, where he is credited with rolling out thousands of kilometres of tarmac.

uda nominations Bomet Woman Representative Joyce Korir

Bomet Woman Representative Joyce Korir (left), Senator Christopher Langat (centre) and Bomet Gubernatorial aspirant Dr John Mosonik addressing journalists at Tenwek Boys High School. They alleged that UDA ballot papers were pre-marked and called for suspension of the nominations process in Bomet Central. 

Photo credit: Vitalis Kimutai | Nation Media Group

For the Senate, Mr Sossion, incumbent Christopher Lang’at and lawyer Hillary Sigei will face off for the coveted ticket.


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A voter peeps through the window as he waits his turn to vote during UDA nominations at Gilgil DEB polling station on April 14, 2022.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

Meanwhile, MP primaries in Nandi Hills, Nakuru Town West and Narok South constituencies were delayed and will be held on April 19.

Even as the nominations kicked off at 6am Thursday, some centres in Nairobi County had not opened by 7am.

In Nakuru, ballot boxes had not arrived or voting had not started in the entire Elburgon ward as of 7.30am.

Distribution of voting materials across the North Rift region started as early as 2am Thursday, with delays witnessed in many polling stations across the region. At Tac-centre, Moiben Tallying centre, presiding officers and clerks from some polling stations in Moiben Constituency were still waiting for voting material at 6.55am. There was a lack of adequate seals for ballot boxes for the voting excercise.

At 7.20 am, Uasin Gishu Woman Representative Gladys Boss Shollei -- who is also seeking UDA ticket to defend her seat -- was spotted making calls to UDA officers over delays in start of the excercise.

"I have been to a number of polling stations but most of them have not been opened. There are no electoral officials," she said.

Gladys Boss Shollei

Uasin Gishu Woman Representative Gladys Boss Shollei (centre) makes a phone call outside M.V. Patel Memorial Hall Polling Station in Huruma Ward, Turbo Sub-County in Uasin Gishu County on April 14, 2022. The exercise was to start at 7am but by 7:30am the station had not been opened.

Photo credit: File | Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

Some voters, disappointed by delays, said they wanted cast their votes early since they do odd jobs.

"We only get time during morning hours, but we fear that we might not get time to vote since we do casual jobs and we might be locked out," said Dennis Ouma.

It was the same situation in Nandi County where UDA members who turned up early were disappointed that polling officials and ballot papers had not arrived by 7am. At St Peters Catholic Primary School, Tegat and AIC Kosirai Academy, Nandi Primary and Kamobo, Namgoi primary schools, they complained that they had arrived by 4am so as to vote before going to work.

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A voter displays the ink on his finger after voting at Ihururu Primary School in Nyeri County on April 14, 2022.

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

Similar delays were experienced in opening of poling stations in Chesumei, Aldai, Tindiret and Emgwen.

Generally, however, the turnout by 8am was good.

Embu chaos 

In Embu, the UDA disciplinary committee has summoned Norman Nyaga and John Muchiri over Wednesday’s incident where a lorry was ransacked and ballot boxes burnt.

The committee, in a letter to the two on Wednesday, cited a complaint filed against them relating to the arson and destruction of party poll materials as well as incitement of the public outside the Izaak Walton Inn.

“The party (has) video footage as well as information, material and other evidence which links you with the aforementioned criminal activity in gross violation of the Party Constitution and Code of Conduct,” read the letter signed by Paul Karuga on behalf of the committee.

The party warned that it would take stern action against the two if they are found guilty.

“If the accusations against you as herein above specified are proved at the hearing, the consequences thereof are grave and include disqualification from participating in the nomination process, suspension or even expulsion from the party,” the party said.

Mr Nyaga and Mr Muchiri are to appear before the committee at 9am on Saturday.

Delayed voting affected the Michinda Boys Primary School, PCEA Primary, St Peters Boys Primary and DEB Primary Schools polling centres.

A total of 13 counties will nominate their governor candidates, and 18 for the Senate. Some 28 counties will select their woman representative candidates, while 13 constituencies will nominate their MP candidates.

A total of 834 wards will pick their nominees for member of the county assembly. In total, the board will conduct nominations for 981 electoral seats countrywide.

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A voter cast his vote at the Nyeri County Assembly polling station on April 14, 2022.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

On Wednesday, Anthony Mwaura, the chairperson of UDA’s National Executive Board, said the party acquired 75,000 transparent ballot boxes, complete with 650,000 seals, adding that they had been transported to various constituencies across the country.

After the primaries, the boxes will remain the property of the party into the future, thereby eliminating the need to rent ballot boxes from the government. Ballot papers, Mr Mwaura noted, are embedded with several security features such as watermarks to eliminate tampering or photocopying.

The primaries were to begin at 6am and end at 5pm. They will be overseen by 47 county and 200 constituency returning officers, 21,000 presiding officers and 52,000 clerks. Some 34,680 police officers will provide security.

Even though primaries will be conducted in only 36 counties, Mr Maura said the board decided to hire 47 county returning officers to serve during the August 9 elections.

“We will be using our party register on which we have already registered eight million members. Party members need to carry their UDA party cards,” he said. 

“Those without cards should carry their national identity cards, which will be queued in the system, and if they are confirmed as UDA members, they will be allowed to vote.”

On finances, Mr Mwaura did not disclose the amount of money that will be spent on nominations.

"We ask party members across the country to turn up in large numbers to participate in this sacred democratic exercise granted by our national Constitution. The board assures aspirants and party faithful that no one will be turned away from voting,” he said.

Reporting by Vitalis Kimutai, Mercy Chelang’at, Gitonga Marete, Alex Njeru, Ndubi Moturi, Stanley Kimuge, Tom Matoke, Florah Koech and John Njoroge.