NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 11 – Two political party agents were arrested on Monday morning on accusation of bribing voters in the Mathare constituency by-election.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Mathare Returning Officer Joseph Masindet confirmed the incident which occurred at the Valley Bridge Primary School Polling Centre, but said the police had launched investigations into the matter.
He declined to disclose the party the duo were representing.
The poll was earlier characterised by accusations between the two main candidates as Nairobi Deputy Governor Jonathan Mueke who had accompanied ODM’s Stephen Kariuki to vote at Ndururuno Secondary School Polling Centre accused their TNA rivals of resorting to what he described, as’ primitive tactics’ at the last minute.
“The other side became primitive yesterday (Sunday). As you may have heard they sent leaflets saying that Kariuki had stepped out of the race. But you can see we are here with him, he is still our candidate and we are asking our voters that this is a very important by-election so they need to come out and vote as if it was the General Election,” said Mueke.
But in a swift rejoinder, The National Alliance (TNA) candidate George Wanjohi denied the claims by his Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) rival.
Wanjohi said even though he had credible information that his rival was contemplating to quit the race, he had nothing to do with the leaflets circulated in the constituency on Sunday night.
“I would say these are the last kicks for my opponent, I don’t have the time to go around distributing leaflets.”
“We know he has gone and negotiated at very high levels. We had heard rumours on Friday that he had quit the race only for him to be pressurised by his party to come back,” said Wanjohi.
Masindet said he had not received complaints from any of the contenders.
“I have not received any complaints from both candidates accusing each other… I can’t say there is anything that warrants a major complaint,” Masindet said.
Voters told Capital FM News that insecurity, lack of employment opportunities and provision of water services are were main issues that would inform who they elect as the next Member of the National Assembly.
Kariuki and Wanjohi – who are seen as front runners in the by-election – were each optimistic of winning.
Seven other candidates are eyeing the Mathare parliamentary seat. These are; Democratic Party’s Fwamba NC Fwamba, National Labour Party’s Billian Okoth, Progressive Party of Kenya’s Sammy Mudanya and four independent candidates William Omondi, Barrack Obadi, Mariam Macharia, and Nixon Kavai.
The by-election was occasioned by the Court of Appeal cancelling Wanjohi’s March 2013 election which was challenged by Kariuki.