, MAKUENI, Kenya, Oct 16 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has confirmed that all is set for Thursday’s by-election in Kibwezi West and Matungulu constituencies.
Kibwezi West Returning Officer Noor Arare Gedi told Capital FM News on Wednesday that everything is in place for the mini polls.
He was speaking at the Kibwezi Technical Training Institute where Presiding Officers had gone to collect the material needed for the by-election.
“All the ballot papers have been collected and we’re almost done issuing the mobile phones and EVID (Electronic Voter Identification Device),” he said.
The constituency which has 54,811 registered voters will have 164 polling streams which Gedi pledged would be adequately staffed and equipped to facilitate a smooth voting process.
He was also adamant that the shortcomings, such as poor lighting, that led Richard Kalembe Ndile to petition Patrick Musimba’s election as the Kibwezi West MP will not recur.
“There will be no complaints,” Gedi said as a Presiding Officer walked past with a lantern on his shoulder.
And as the Presiding Officers were reminded, through a public address system, to ensure their Electronic Voter Identification Devices (EVID) were functioning correctly; Kenya Police and Kenya Prisons Officers milled around a tent to receive their deployment orders.
On Monday, the IEBC posted on its website that it would deploy 841 temporary staff members to the constituency to ensure the mini-poll runs as smoothly as the county-wide Senatorial by-election held in July.
“These by-elections will be a success story just as the Makueni Senatorial by-elections were,” IEBC Commissioner Mohamed Alawi said at a press briefing on Monday.
Thursday’s by-election will pit Ndile of TIP against Independent Candidate Musimba and PICK candidate Julianna Mumo Kisimbi.
In the March 4 General Election Musimba beat Ndile to win the Kibwezi West seat with a slim margin of 199 votes garnering 17,174 votes to Kalembe’s 16,975.
Kisimbi did not contest the Kibwezi West National Assembly seat in March.
Musimba’s win was however overturned by Justice David Majanja in August following a petition filed by Ndile and a recount that showed the petitioner beat Musimba by 21 votes with 16,930 to 16,909 ballots cast in the latter’s favour.
Majanja was however unable to declare Ndile the outright winner on account of 409 ballots Musimba alleged were missing and would have tipped him over the top.
The judge therefore had little choice but to call for a return to the polls that will also see Siaya re-elect a governor, Matungulu a National Assembly Representative and four Wards County Assembly representatives on Thursday.