BOMET, Kenya, Aug 8 – Candidates in the Bomet County gubernatorial race have each exuded confidence in clinching the seat despite a shaky start to the exercise early Tuesday.
Incumbent Governor Isaac Ruto who cast his vote at Chabaraa Primary School Polling Station said the progress was fair despite some reported hiccups.
“I believe that the process is going on well and we believe it will end peacefully, that is if the police don’t misbehave,” he quipped.
His competitor Joyce Laboso of the Jubilee Party on her part also said she had observed a smooth process save for early in the morning her agents had been denied access into one centre, but the matter was resolved.
“I am happy a candidate, so far I am confident as a candidate that things are going to well and I am going to be the next governor,” she said.
The incumbent was also complaining that his chief agent was also harassed and put under police custody for holding ‘night meetings.’
But Ruto who had to go bail him out at 11:30pm on Monday explained his chief agent was arrested as he finalised the swearing in of his agents.
“They told us that he was not supposed to be issuing them at night and so we asked them what time were we supposed to issue them when the IEBC Returning Officer for Chepalungu Constituency had said they should be issued immediately and that was after 6pm, that they said they had to do some rectification which went ahead and did so we were surprised they did that they even refused to release him Police Bond saying they had been instructed not to do so,”
Laboso on her part lauded the police service and IEBC for curbing incidences of voter bribery.
Speaking after casting her vote at Manaret Primary School Polling Centre, Laboso several people had been arrested buying voters ID cards and also giving cash handouts in favour of her competitor.
“Clearly Kenyans have come out to exercise their democratic duty but last night we had incidences of people distributing money and some actually buying voters cards but a few people were arrested. So we are hoping the security personnel that they acted very fast and were able to nip it in the bud,” she narrated.
Voting in at least two centres was delayed because the KIEMS gadgets were not working.
Ruto caused a stir at the polling centre after he insisted on him and his family joining the queue.
“When it is a queuing system I normally start at where the line is including at the bank. So I didn’t know that we were exempted from queuing because people who should exempt is the voters not the candidates because there should be no privilege for the ones who are being voted for,” he said in his characteristic chuckle.
One of his sons wasn’t allowed to vote after his name failed to be detected by the KIEMS equipment
The governor also noted that in future the voting process should be simplified because it confusing to the aged and unschooled voter.
“This is a very complicated process, it is a bit difficult for the aged, and I think they will need to be assisted. Even literacy levels are not enough for that myriad of confusion.”
“Even the length of the document is scaring. It is the first time I am seeing about a foot of a ballot paper,” he noted.
By two o’clock, most polling centres in the rural and urban parts of the county were virtually empty with polling clerks sitting idle.