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May 18, 2021 | A voter casts his ballot at a polling station in Bonchari during the May 18 2021 by-elections. /IEBC

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UDA, ODM teams decry State meddling in high-stake parliamentary by-elections

UDA said that alongside other agents, its officials had been constantly been intimated and harassed by the police.

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 18 – United Democratic Alliance party has protested the arrest of its poll agents in Nyandarua’s in Rurii ward by-election terming he move as an attempt by government to meddle with the election.

The party was reacting to the arrest of its Chief Agent Brian Mbugua and Supervisor Daniel Githinji.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the party’s Secretary General Veronicah Maina noted that the duo was arrested moments after their car was detained and their phones confiscated by the police.

UDA said that alongside other agents, the duo had been constantly been intimated and harassed by the police.

“UDA Key agents in Rurii ward have been arrested by police. This was moments after their car was detained and their phones confiscated by the police, the party agents have been harassed and intimidated by police across the ward. In addition police have mounted unnecessary road blocks across the ward all aimed at intimidating voters,” Maina said.

The party  further said the police were intimidating voters in the region by mounting unnecessary roadblock across the ward.

UDA fielded Francis Muraya as its candidate to face off Jubilee’s candidate Peter Thinji in the ongoing elections.

The seat fell vacant following the death of the area MCA John Mburu Wamaria in January

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Ruto, who has not entirely decamped Jubilee Party and still holds the Deputy Party Leader position is seeking to popularise UDA which he said is his backup plan in case the rift in Jubilee Party widens.

Similar concerns were also raised by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) which decried government meddling of the ongoing Bonchari parliamentary by-election where the party was battling it out against Jubilee and UDA.

The Raila Odinga-led party claimed that police officers were using teargas canisters to disperse the electorate in order to create an advantage for the Jubilee Party candidate.

“We condemn in the strongest terms possible the misuse of police in the ongoing campaigns for the Bonchari by-election. Police have been throwing teargas canisters at our small town hall meetings and protecting the Jubilee candidate,” the party declared as the campaign period neared the end.

Sifuna,  while decrying the mistreatment by the police, said the party will not be intimidated vowing to deliver votes for its candidate.

“As party, we have insisted on a healthy competition with handshake parties without harming the friendship, but the information we are getting seems to push us to the wall,” he told journalists in Kisii.

In Bonchari constituency, Pavel Oimeke of ODM is facing Zepedeo Opeke of Jubilee and Teresia Oyioka of UDA.

The seat fell vacant following the demise of Oroo Oyioka of Bonchari.

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