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High-stake Kiambaa by-election kicks off

KIAMBU, Kenya July 15 – Voting in the Kiambaa Constituency by-election in Kiambu County kicked off Thursday with all the 154 polling stations opening at 6.00am paving way for day-long exercise that will end at 5.00pm.

The seat that fell vacant following the death of Paul Koinange who succumbed to COVID-19 in March has attracted six candidates in a high-stake poll that witnessed robust campaigns pitting Jubilee Party candidate Kariri Njama and John Njuguna of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party that is associated to Deputy President William Ruto.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has since warned against any malpractices with Constituency Returning Officer Peter Muigai urging voters to comply with election regulations.

“We will not allow any sort of campaign activities to be conducted today. Police will be on standby to ensure that the election proceeds on smoothly and we urge voters to follow the election rules,” he said.

Muigai also assured the voters of their safety noting that all the COVID-19 safety protocols will be adhered to.

“We have catered for all the safety measures needed. Sanitizers and hand washing points have been placed at designated places in polling station. We will also strictly ensure that no voter is allowed into a polling station without a face mask,” he said.

The mini-poll which saw contenders’ traverse the region for 50 days trying to woo voters has shaped into a popularity contest between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto with the former keen to make a statement that he is still the regions’ favorite.

The constituency has a total of 95, 413 registered voters.

Njama who is vying on a Jubilee party ticket unsuccessfully vied in 2017 when he lost to Koinange.

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On Wednesday night, the Jubilee Party dismissed claims that its candidate in the mini-poll had pulled out of the race following claims on social media which he described as “fake news.”

The party’s Secretary General Raphael Tuju said the false reports were the work of their opponents.

“Even propaganda requires some intelligence. It is utterly absurd that some desperados can bank on a propaganda of disinformation,” he said.

Tuju urged voters in the region to turn out in their large numbers and vote this even as he also alleged that their opponents had hatched a plot to falsely claim that they have been arrested so as to spark protests.

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