Voting kicks off in Embakasi West as leaders appeal for calm

Member of Parliament George Theuri urges voters to exercise total restraint during and after polls.

After weeks of heightened campaigns, Embakasi West constituents streamed to the polling Stations on Tuesday to usher in new leaders.

Member of Parliament George Theuri urged voters to exercise total restraint during and after the polls.

Theuri spoke soon after casting his vote at the Umoja 1 Primary School polling centre.

“My humble plea is that we may all dwell in peace, love and unity after the August 9 polls. Life must go on as usual,” Theuri said.

Theuri, 44, is eyeing a third consecutive term in office after riding to Parliament for the first time in 2013 on the back of The National Alliance (TNA) ticket.

The flamboyant legislator successfully defended his seat in 2017 on a Jubilee Party ticket after thumping his closest challenger Tom Agimba of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) by close to 18,000 votes.

He was elected Umoja 1 councilor in 2007 before his attention flipped to the parliamentary contest.

He, however, ditched the ruling party for the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) in 2019 and was gifted a direct ticket as the party's parliamentary flag bearer.

UDA also handpicked Mark Mugambi Macharia as the Umoja 1 MCA candidate.

The party, however, conducted successful nominations for the other three wards where Felician Obilo, Martin Wairobi and Stephen Mwangi Irungu won the Umoja 2, Mowlem and Uhuru/Kariobangi South nominations respectively.

Leading the Azimio onslaught in the constituency is parliamentary flag bearer Mark Muriithi Mwenje — son of former Embakasi MP the late David Mwenje.

“My prayer is that peace, harmony and unity prevails,” Mwenje urged on the eve of the polls.

Mwenje is taking a second stab at the seat following his maiden attempt in 2017 where he crashed to Theuri in the hotly contested Jubilee Party nominations.

Azimio settled on seasoned politician Robert Mbatia for the Uhuru/Kariobangi South ward seat where he will be seeking a fifth consecutive term on a Jubilee ticket.

Mbatia's main challenger is UDA's Steve Mwangi Irungu. He must also look over his shoulders for a possible threat from independent candidate Eugene Mwangi who is equally popular with the voters.

After coming second in 2017 on the Jubilee Party ticket, Shadrack Machanje will hope to be second-time lucky as he trains his sights on the Umoja 2 ward seat.

Machanje decamped to ODM where he dethroned incumbent Joseph Ndonji to secure the ticket.

He had to fend off fierce legal battles along the corridors of justice before being confirmed as the bona fide party candidate. Machanje's main opponent is UDA's Felician Obilo.

“As you know we had a lot of challenges, trials and tribulations, but our God in heaven remained faithful to us,” Machanje said.

The Eastleigh High School alumnus heads into the battlefield high on confidence in the knowledge that all his three predecessors rode to office on an ODM ticket.

“The courage and support you gave to me did not go in vain, and I'm optimistic we are going to emerge winners with a landslide victory,” Machanje said.

In Mowlem ward, incumbent Benson Mwangi is seeking to retain his seat on a Jubilee Party ticket.

His biggest hurdle is UDA's Martin Wairobi, a close associate of the outgoing area Member of Parliament.


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