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IEBC suspends vote tallying in Kiambaa by-election after Jubilee rigging claim

KIAMBU, Kenya July 16 -The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) temporarily suspended vote tallying in the Kiambaa Parliamentary by-election Friday morning over rigging allegations by the Jubilee Party.

Jubilee Party candidate Kariri Njama alongside his supporters staged a protest at the main tallying centre in Karuri High School where they demanded a recount of the votes cast.

According to the results verified by the electoral body so far, out of the 153 polling stations out of the 154, United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Party candidate John Njuguna was leading in the race with 21,606 votes against Jubilee’s Njama 21,151 votes.

It is this revelation that sparked outrage from the Jubilee camp which alleged vote rigging.

“No more counting. We demand a recount. Stop the counting,” the supporters could be heard shouting inside the main tallying centre.

The Constituency IEBC Returning Officer Peter Muhia was forced to seek the intervention of security personnel to calm the rowdy Jubilee supporters.

An agitated Njama who has since accussed the electoral body officials of colliding with UDA agents to rig him out said that he will not accept anything less than a victory.

As this was happening, UDA’s candidate Njuguna was in the room pensively observing the commotion.

IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati was expected at the main tallying centre to issue directions.

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The voting exercise on the high-stake poll closed on Thursday at 5.00pm.

The latest results revealed that the exercise which was conducted under chilly and rainy conditions had a voter turnout of 45 percent.

Prior to the closing time of the voting exercise,
UDA sent out a statement accusing their opponents, the Jubilee Party of threatening and intimidating their supporters.

The party’s Secretary General Veronica Maina claimed that Jubilee Party had deployed “unidentified and armed individuals” totalling 15 in every polling station “on a mission to disrupt the voting and ultimately counting of the votes”.

In the letter addressed to the electoral body Chairman Chebukati, UDA sought his intervention on the matter.

“Our agents and voters have been threatened some of whom have not been able to cast their votes owing to their presence. We are in possession of electronic evidence to support this position,” she said.

Maina noted that their agents, voters and observers ought to be protected so as to safeguard the sanctity of the election process.

The Jubilee Party which seemingly now appears to be loosing grip on some of its stronghold regions will be be forced to retreat back to the drawing board and strategize on how to remain relevant in the 2022 General Election.

The race that was occasioned by the death of Paul Koinange who succumbed to COVID-19 in March attracted six contenders in the race but it is Njama of Jubilee and Njuguna who have since garnered most of the votes with Evans Wainaina of the People Empowerment Party following in at third with 80 votes.

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