Voting underway in Elgeyo Marakwet, Kandara and Garissa township
Polling centers in Garissa Township, Kandara, and Elgeyo Marakwet opened at 6 am on Thursday for by-elections to replace former MPs Aden Duale, Alice Wahome, and former Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, who were appointed to Cabinet positions as the Cabinet Secretaries for Defence, Water, and Transport, respectively.
The by-elections have attracted significant attention, as they are seen as a test for the ruling UDA party.
In Elgeyo-Marakwet, UDA is leaving nothing to chance after losing in the Bungoma Senate by-election to Ford Kenya’s Wafula Wakoli.
Both President Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua have held meetings with elected leaders from Rift Valley to strategize on how to win the seat. UDA leaders, including Governor Wisley Rotich, Nandi Senator Samson Cherargey, and MPs Timothy Toroitich, Caroline Ngelechei, Julius Ruto, and Kangogo Bowen, have been campaigning in the county, encouraging voters to support UDA candidate William Kisang.
Kisang won the UDA party nomination after garnering 28,136 votes against Tim Kipchumba’s 26,766 votes and Jerotich Seii’s 8,540 votes.
However, some UDA supporters have expressed disappointment with the nomination process, which they believe was not free and fair. Kipchumba and Seii subsequently left UDA to run as candidates for the Party of Peace and Development and Safina Party, respectively.
In Kandara, eight candidates have been cleared to contest the by-election.
Early turnout appeared to be low, with only a handful of voters arriving at polling centers. The IEBC encouraged voters to turn out in large numbers and cast their ballots for their preferred candidates.
A by-election is also being held by the IEBC in the Shella ward in Lamu since Azhar Ali Mbarak, the ward’s elected representative, ran for and was elected Lamu County Assembly Speaker in September, leaving the position vacant.