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Scuffle after Kirinyaga Central poll

KERUGOYA, Kenya, Feb 17 – General Service Unit personnel had to step in as avert a chaotic end to the peaceful Kirinyaga Central by election, after Narc-Kenya candidate Daniel Karaba stormed into the tallying centre demanding a recount.

Mr Karaba who was accompanied by his agent complained that the tally of his votes recorded in the provisional electronic count and the final tally did not match.

Trouble began when the Narc-K chief agent clashed with supporters of MP-Elect Joseph Gitari leading to a scuffle after which police officers deployed inside the Kerugoya Catholic Church Hall Tallying Centre to restore order.

"It took three years for the High Court to resolve the error of 2007 (General Election), now we have the same problem caused by the Returning Officer; the Form 16A does not agree with the results that had been relayed here earlier, and that is why I’m complaining," said Mr Karaba.

The Narc-Kenya candidate is the one who successfully filed a petition challenging the election of Ngata Kariuki. The High Court nullified the election last year.

The provisional electronic tally indicated that Mr Karaba had garnered 16,683 votes. But after receiving final results from all presiding officers, the Returning Officer Teresia Mwai explained that there had been an error in the initial tally, and that in fact Mr Karaba’s finaly tally was 16,685 – three votes more.

Electoral laws allow a candidate to demand a recount on only twice, and must be within 12 hours after announcement of the final results.

Mr Karaba was scheduled to meet the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) at the headquarters on Thursday.

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Meanwhile, the MP-Elect Joseph Gitari had dismissed claims that his win in Wednesday’s by-election was a fluke. He attributed the victory to a desire by the constituents to see a change in how the region’s development projects are addressed

"I can say that it’s not a fluke, we are moving on we are soldiering on. its a big day for PNU," he said.

The relatively unknown career engineer staged a shock victory against the seasoned Daniel Karaba who had vowed to reclaim the seat that he lost after an electoral error by the defunct electoral commission cost him his seat.

The PNU party took advantage of the win to boast of the popularity in the region which has been perceived to be a stronghold of Martha Karua`s Narc-K.

For PNU the victory is sweet revenge to NARC-K after the lost two crucial seats to the former member of its coalition last September

Ms Karua was gracious in defeat but vowed to soldier on with her plans to popularise the party and her 2012 presidential bid nationally.

"We have lost the battle not the war. Congratulations to our team; no retreat no surrender. Narc Kenya marches on," said the Gichugu MP on her twitter page.

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