Protests ahead of Kenya mini poll

September 16, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Sep 16 – Four candidates participating in next Monday’s Juja by- election met electoral commission officials on Thursday and demanded action against two provincial administrators who they accused of campaigning for PNU candidate George Thuo.

The candidates who included Narc-Kenya`s William Kabogo, Ngang’a Gaitho (Safina) and Jackson Kamau (KENDA) claimed that the administrators from Thika West and Ruiru had on several occasion participated in hosting rallies for the candidates.

"This is the issue of bringing the 2012 succession politics into place because Juja people just want a MP to represent them why can’t they just let the people of Juja to decide,” Mr Kabogo said.

“We have made numerous complaints but all we get is lip service… we want to know what is so special about Juja that some people are falling over themselves and trying to do some things to influence the voters,” Mr Gaitho complained.

The candidates claimed that the administrators were summoning jua kali artisans to their residence, and had been dispensing money on behalf of one candidate within a DC’s house. They also cited failure by the police to act on reports by other candidates.

Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) Chief Executive Officer James Oswago however assured the candidates that they had written to the Internal Security Permanent Secretary asking him to act on the claims.

The letter dated September 14 reads in part: “Nine out of 10 candidates believe one candidate enjoys State promotion and the medium used is the District Commissioners.” 

In the letter which is also copied to the Head of Public Service, Mr Oswago adds that: “The question is not their culpability. It is the overriding need to wipe out lingering perceptions that public officers can be used to influence electoral contents.”

On Thursday Mr Oswago reiterated: “We as the commission demand that the two DCs be removed with immediate effect from overseeing the process. They could be sent on leave or temporarily be redeployed.”

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Kabogo urged the government to ensure a free and fair by-election.

“It is now up to the Office of the President to see whether it will take advice by the IIEC, if they have nothing to hide what is so difficult in moving a DC,” he said.

Meanwhile, 93 public schools in Nairobi and Thika are to be closed on Monday to facilitate by-elections in Makadara, Starehe and Juja.

IIEC Deputy Chief Electoral Officer Gladys Shollei told Capital News that only students preparing to sit for their national exams later this year would be allowed to report to the affected learning institutions.

“Each of the schools have made separate arrangements, because this is the third term. Some schools have kept the standard eight students in the compound, but will close the classes for the others so that they can be used for polling. So all voters should go to vote… all arrangements have been made through the Directorate of Education,” he said.

The electoral commission prefers to use schools, churches and social halls as polling centres due to their proximity and accessibility to the electorate.


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