, KERUGOYA, Kenya, Feb 16 – Residents of Kirinyaga Central have turned out in large numbers to cast their ballots in Wednesday\’s by-election.
Polling centres opened at 6 am and the exercise was running smoothly in most polling centres with no hitches reported.
"I came here at exactly 6am," said one of the voters, while another added: "We have started well and we want peace in our area."
Most of the voters interviewed by Capital News cited development as the main issue for their new leader to take up. Water and roads infrastructure rank highest as their main urgent needs.
"The one I have voted for has promised that he will prioritise development and in particular education," noted a voter only identified as Kamau.
However Narc Kenya’s candidate Daniel Karaba has claimed that there are some elements of voter bribery.
“There is a lot of voter bribery…. and PNU should realise that people here are very intelligent. They are not going to vote because of money,” Mr Karaba told reporters after casting his vote.
He urged the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) and security agents to take action against those who are committing the offence.
“I am asking the security forces to move in and take these people to court,” he added.
The race has attracted seven candidates including Party of National Unity\’s Joseph Gitari, Narc Kenya\’s Daniel Karaba and Beth Wambura of Kenya National Congress.
The race is seen as another supremacy battle between Presidential hopefuls Uhuru Kenyatta and Martha Karua. The two have been fighting for the domination of Central Kenya politics.
Last year Ms Karua\’s Narc Kenya party scooped two seats in Juja and Makadara by- elections.
The seat was left vacant following the nullification of the election of the former MP John Ngata by the High Court.
Follow the author at https://twitter.com/Lwanambisi