, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 19 – By-elections kicked off smoothly in most polling stations in Bungoma County and Bomachoge Borabu constituency on Thursday, amid reports of low voter turnout.
Our Correspondent in Bomachoge Borabu said there was little activity at any of the polling centres, but said it was hoped turnout would increase later in the day.
In Bungoma County, polling stations opened as early as 6am when voters started trickling in to elect their new Senator.
At Posta Grounds polling station in Kanduyi constituency, Bungoma town residents were up in time for the start of the by-election.
A voter, Victor Nabuere, says he woke up to vote early before embarking on his daily chores.
“What has made me wake up early is the urge to vote for my leader and then resume my duties. I am in the jua kali industry,” he said.
At Namachanja Secondary School polling station, our correspondent spoke to Charles Wandera who says he woke up early to avoid a rush, saying voting is a fundamental right which he must exercise.
“We want to vote early before the queues are crowded and then we go back home to wait for the results,” he stated.
Township county representative Joseph Magudo says he woke up early and visited many polling stations within his ward to ensure there was no hitch in the start of the exercise.
It is a tight race in Bungoma where one-time Cabinet Minister Musikari Kombo is contesting against former Bumula Member of Parliament Bifwoli Wakoli, journalist David Makali and Coalition of Reforms and Democracy candidate Moses Wetang’ula.
The High Court nullified the election of Wetang’ula as the Bungoma Senator following a successful petition filed by Kombo.
The Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo has since warned the residence of Bungoma County and Bomachoge Borabu constituency against engaging in violence during the two by-elections.
Kimaiyo said that police officers had been deployed in all polling centres saying anyone who violates election laws will be dealt with firmly.
Addressing the media, Kimaiyo asked the county residents to proceed home and wait for the results as soon as they vote.
“Immediately after casting their votes, they are requested to majestically march back and return home,” he said.
He said police officers were deployed in the region to curtail any cases of insecurity.
He also urged all those contesting for the positions to conduct themselves as per the election laws.
“We call on the candidates and their supporters to desist from any campaign beyond the legally stipulated timeline, including the day of voting. Police will be vigilant to take lawful action against those who may want to jeopardise the peaceful conduct of the by-elections,” he warned.
He added, “anyone who violates election Act and commits offences within the framework of that particular Act will be dealt with firmly in accordance with the law.”