BOMACHOGE, Kenya, Aug 28 – Simon Ogari of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) was declared winner of Bomachoge by-election early on Thursday after he garnered 14,788 votes in the closely contested vote.
His main political rival, former area MP Joel Onyancha of the Party of National Unity (PNU), came second with 14, 099 votes followed by Ford People’s Alfred Nyaundi who bagged 2,731 votes to assume third position.
The by-election attracted 11 contenders but only the three emerged as serious contenders, according to observers and locals.
Tallying of the votes kicked off at 8pm local time on Thursday and went on up to 5.50am on Friday morning when the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) Returning Officer Thomas Okila finally released the results.
“I hereby declare Mr Simon Ogari of ODM as the winner of the Bomachoge by-election,” Mr Okila announced to the jubilation of supporters and party agents and urged those who were not satisfied with the results to “seek other available avenues in contesting the results.”
This followed disagreements between the supporters and agents of Mr Onyancha who claimed that the vote had been stolen.
The disagreement forced Mr Okila to delay announcing the results for nearly twenty minutes as he consulted with all the party agents at the Tendere Secondary School in Ogembo, where the tallying exercise took place.
He said: “As far as I am concerned, the results we have shows that Mr Ogari is the winner of this by-election. I urge anyone with complaints to channel them in the available avenues but not here.”
One of Mr Onyancha’s party agents, who is also his close family member, had claimed that she had been tallying the results, which “did not match those released by the IIEC.”
She then declined to sign the Form 17 A, which is used by the IIEC to get confirmation from contenders that they are satisfied with the results.
“You may choose to sign Form 17 A if you are satisfied with the results. But if you are not, it is your choice not to sign it,” Mr Okila, the Returning Officer told the 11 contenders and their party agents.
Only six contenders were available at the tallying hall at the time the final results were relayed.
In what was seen as a sign of transparency by the IIEC, all the contenders present were provided with copies of the final results before they were given the Form 17 A to sign.
Mr Onyancha’s party agents did not, however, sign the form.
Soon after the final results were announced, the winner of the by-elections Mr Ogari addressed journalists and thanked his supporters for electing him.
“I am grateful for the victory. I knew that the people of Bomachoge were with me and this has been confirmed by the results relayed here today,” the newly-elected MP said.
“I am prepared to serve my people and I will indeed spearhead various developmental projects to ensure the people of Bomachoge benefit from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) among others,” he said.
Lands Minister James Orengo who signed the Form 17 A on behalf of the newly elected MP said the by-elections were “a clear confirmation that ODM is the party that has support of the majority Kenyans.”
“We thank the people of Bomachoge for the support they have given us,” he added.
Mr Orengo was accompanied at the tallying hall by ODM’s Executive Director Janet Ong’era and James Ongwae, among other party officials.