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JP primaries disrupted, Mbarire storms centre, says polling off

Runyenjes MP Cecile Mbarire.Photo/FILE
Runyenjes MP Cecile Mbarire.Photo/FILE

The Jubilee Party primaries in Embu county on Friday flopped, but there was no major violence.

Embu governor aspirant Cecily Mbarire and other hopefuls told a press conference all voting had been postponed but no new date was set.

There was no announcement from the JP Elections Board, which had promised efficient and smooth polls.

She and others cited numerous irregularities, including six-hour delays, insufficient ballot papers, unsealed ballot boxes and some aspirants’ names missing from ballot papers.

Runyenjes MP Mbarire said earlier, “This is very disappointing since we did not expect a party of Jubilee’s status to have disorganised polls as they did. This is contrary to assurances.”

She and other

hopefuls at 11am stormed the Kirimari Secondary School where Manyatta constituency ballot boxes and papers were being distributed.

Kirimari MCA aspirant Morris Muchiri said his name was not on the ballot and there should be no voting until the papers are corrected.

Mbarire

is running against Governor Martin Wambora.

She was with Manyatta MP John Muchiri, Embu deputy speaker Ibrahim Swaleh and NCPB outgoing chairman Godfrey Kingangi, who is vying for Mbeere South MP.

Others were Union of Kenya Civil Servants national treasurer Justus Mugo, running for Manyatta MP, and woman rep aspirant Jane Wanjuki.

They forced the presiding officer to stop distributing remaining items, demanding primaries be postponed until all the problems are fixed.

They also demanded recall of all the boxes and ballots that had been distributed until new dates are set.

The politicians were told helicopters were on standby to deliver more ballot papers. They said no.

Hundreds of people who had arrived early at polling stations were disappointed over the delay and disruption.

Distribution of items to polling stations in Runyenjes, Manyatta, Mbeere North and South constituencies mostly started from 9am and was going on past 11am. Voting was to start at

6am.

Matatu owners refused to transport the items until they were paid. Many said they were given the assignment hurriedly and some were called at night.

Mbarire and the other politicians described election preparations as far below expected standard.

JP secretary general Raphael Tuju had promised polls would be efficient.

Muchiri said transport payment from the distribution point was made yesterday, but it should have been done a week or a few days before the polls. Kingangi said delays and irregularities anomalies could have been arranged to rig the vote.

Delay disenfranchised many people who showed up at 6am to vote but had to go to work and could not wait longer. More than 2,000 disappointed people left one polling station.