NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 3 – The Orange Democratic Movement’s (ODM) Geoffrey Majiwa has retained his seat as Nairobi Mayor after trouncing Party of National Unity candidate Mutunga Mutungi in a closely contested election.
Mr Majiwa got 48 votes against Mr Mutungi’s 46 in a poll that was largely peaceful, as compared to previous polls that are characterised by violence.
The poll, which started at around 10am, saw councillors earlier disagreeing on the mode of voting, with some opposed to secret ballot which later emerged as the favourite option.
“City fathers and mothers, it is important that we hold this election in a peaceful manner as the country is watching us,” chairman Evans Obancho pleaded with the civic leaders at one point.
The councillors had earlier disagreed on venue with the PNU proposing the Council Chambers while the Majiwa team wanted the more spacious Charter Hall. However they settled on the Chambers after the Hall was hired out.
Ninety- four votes were cast out of a possible 97 councillors. There are 52 ODM-affiliated councillors, while PNU has 45 civic leaders.
Voting had to be halted several times after the PNU civic leaders accused their ODM counterparts of intimidating their colleagues to vote along party lines.
At one point, Bahati councillor Bernard Mutura (PNU) provoked a confrontation after he blocked ODM councillors from casting their ballots claiming that they were showing their ballots to the chairman Evans Obancho before they cast their vote which was against the principle of secret ballot.
Another confrontation arose after ODM tried to introduce agents to assist their six colleagues to mark their ballot, saying they were injured. However a councillor confided in Capital News that it was an ODM tactic to monitor balloting.
“These guys have been intimidating everyone. You see the ones who have white bandages on their right hands; they are the ones who are being forced to vote against their wish. There is no democracy.”
Mr Majiwa’s team backed down after the chairman ordered City Hall official to assist those who needed it.
However, sources within the PNU camp say some councillors were unhappy that some officials at the party headquarters had ignored their choice of Deputy Mayor John Njoroge and instead backed Mr Mutungi. Earlier reports had been circulated that the Bahati leader had re-entered the race after a fallout.
ODM completed a rout in the city’s mayoral elections, with Makongeni/ Kaloleni Ward Councilllor George Aladwa clinching the Deputy Mayor’s post.
He beat incumbent John Njoroge by 54 votes to 34 in a poll that was snubbed by some PNU councillors.
Attempts by Mr Mutungi to stop the endorsement of Mr Njoroge fell on deaf ears after he was shouted down.
Mr Aladwa had been a strong opponent of Mr Majiwa in the ODM nominations which were held in Naivasha on Friday night.