, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 20 – The Makadara and Starehe constituency by-elections were on Monday marred by claims of voter buying with some of the aspirants saying their competitors were dishing out cash to potential voters.
Narc-Kenya aspirant Gideon Mbuvi popularly known as ‘sonko’ accused those in the PNU camp of the malpractice.
Mr Mbuvi, who alleged that his opponents had been buying out voters since morning, asked the relevant authorities to ensure that the electoral process was conducted transparently.
“They started by freezing my accounts to frustrate my campaigns and then they are now walking around buying the youth’s votes. I would like to challenge the Commissioner of Police to step in and stop this,” he said.
ODM’s candidate Rueben Ndolo, who cast his vote at 10am at St Patrick’s Primary School in Kaloleni, however rubbished the claims saying it was impossible. He argued that the voters’ choice would not be swayed by bribing.
“Some of our people come up with all sorts of propaganda and they talk about buying votes but you know it is not easy to buy people in this area. So even if they are doing that, let the people decide,” he said.
Mr Ndolo also asked employers to give their employees time off to cast their vote. He held that the low voter turn out that had characterised polling in the area so far would not reflect the people’s true choice once the votes were counted.
Consolata Kivuti, who is flying the United Democratic Movement flag, maintained her confidence in winning the seat saying those who were buying voters were not a threat. She cast her vote at 8am at the Bidii Primary School.
PNU’s Dick Wathika cast his vote at 6.30am and urged Makadara constituents to turn out and exercise their democratic right to vote.
“I came out early to vote and make sure the systems were working and everything was in order,” he said.
In Starehe, the two leading candidates in the by-election traded accusations over voter buying schemes aimed at swaying voters to their side.
ODM’s candidate Bishop Margaret Wanjiru claimed that her rivals have been dishing out money to voters at various polling centres.
“There are some of the candidates who have been sending their agents, carrying heaps of money to buy out voters but at the end of the day it will be clear that Starehe voters are not for sale. They are looking for good governance and development,” she said.
Ms Wanjiru who voted at noon at the Kenya Polytechnic, said that she had reported the matter to the IIEC and the Police where she was promised action.
PNU`s Maina Kamanda cast his vote at 10am at the City Primary School and called on the IIEC to investigate the claims, which were threatening to mar the credibility of the exercise.
Mr Kamanda meanwhile said he was confident that voting would pick up.
“The turnout is not very good but generally in a by election its hard even to get 50 percent turnout all over. But I’m confident that most people will turn-up in the afternoon as they go for lunch or as their work schedules eases,” he said.
“My encouragement to the Starehe voters is that don’t lose this opportunity to come out for good governance,” Bishop Wanjiru added
Narc-Kenya`s Jackson Mwangi cast his vote at the Pangani Girls High School Polling Centre, where he said that he was confident of a positive result.
Starehe with a total of 135,394 registered voters is holding the poll after Mr Kamanda won an election petition against ODM’s Bishop Wanjiru, who was declared winner of the 2007 poll.