[PHOTOS] Bonchari by-election off to smooth start amid tight security

Many polling stations opened doors at 6 am to enable residents to cast their vote.

In Summary

• Before casting, voters were required to wear masks and sanitize at entry points across the stations.

• Security inside and outside the polling stations was tight throughout the exercise.

Various candidates and leaders have raised issues concerning police harassment, low voter turnout and voter bribery during the Bonchari by-elections.

The voting exercise in Bonchari by-election started off on a smooth note without any hiccups.

Many polling stations opened doors at 6 am to enable residents to cast their vote.

Before casting, voters were required to wear masks and sanitize at entry points across the stations.

The voting exercise in Bonchari by-election started off on a smooth note without any hiccups.
The voting exercise in Bonchari by-election started off on a smooth note without any hiccups.
Image: ANGWENYI GICHANA

Security has been intensified in Bonchari with police erecting roadblocks in all roads entering the constituency as voting began Tuesday dawn.

Police manning the checkpoints were seen checking vehicles.

At Mosando area, for instance, traffic continued to build up owing to the security checks.

Many polling stations opened doors at 6 am to enable residents to cast their vote.
Many polling stations opened doors at 6 am to enable residents to cast their vote.
Image: ANGWENYI GICHANA

It is about three kilometres from Kisii town and forms the route to the constituency after the main road was closed for construction.

Voting set off to a slow start in almost all polling stations across the 103 polling stations.

By 8.30 in the morning, the Star had visited Itierio Primary, Suneka Itierio Boarding where voting was still going on smoothly.

Nyanza Regional Commander Karanja Muiruri speaking at Nyamiobo Primary School.
Nyanza Regional Commander Karanja Muiruri speaking at Nyamiobo Primary School.
Image: ANGWENYI GICHANA

The Bonchari battle pits President Uhuru Kenyatta's Jubilee Party, Raila Odinga's ODM and DP William Ruto-linked UDA.

Stakes are high for candidates  Zebedeo Opore (Jubilee), Pavel Oimeke (ODM)) and Teresa Oroo Bitutu.

Bitutu is running on the Deputy President William Ruto affiliated party, the United Democratic Alliance, UDA. 

Other candidates include former Woman Rep Mary Otara (United Green Party), Jonah Ondieki ( New Democrats)  Victor Omanwao (People’s Economic Development (PED), Charles Mogaka- Progressive Party of Kenya (PPK), David Ogega-(Kenya Social Congress), Kevin Mosomi-PDU, and Eric Oigo- National Reconstruction Alliance.

Jubilee candidate Zebedeo Opore casts his vote at Nyamio Primary School.
Jubilee candidate Zebedeo Opore casts his vote at Nyamio Primary School.
Image: ANGWENYI GICHANA

ODM candidate Pavel Oimeke is due to vote at Nyamarema Primary polling Station while Jubilee's Zebedeo Opore has cast his at Nyamiobo Primary in Riana Ward.

Agano Party candidate Jeremiah Matagaro cast his vote at 9.10 in the morning at Suneka Baraza Hall.

He however spoke of voter bribery in the select polling he had visited before voting.

UDA candidate Teresa Oroo speaking at Suneka Primary school after casting her vote.
UDA candidate Teresa Oroo speaking at Suneka Primary school after casting her vote.
Image: ANGWENYI GICHANA

Matagaro asked security personnel to intensify patrols near the polling centres and arrest those bribing voters.

He also decried the abysmally low turnout of voters at Baraza which has more than 3,000 registered voters.

Those who cast their vote were not allowed to loiter around the polling stations.

An IEBC official checks Catherine Andima's details using the KIMS kit.
An IEBC official checks Catherine Andima's details using the KIMS kit.
Image: ANGWENYI GICHANA

At least 52,995 voters are expected to turn up to cast their vote to pick their next MP.

On Monday, a torn ballot box caused a stir at the Bonchari materials distribution centre. 

ODM officials said the torn Bogiakumu box had begun to swirl possible rigging claims ahead of the voting on Tuesday. 

A voter casts his vote at Suneka Airstrip polling station.
A voter casts his vote at Suneka Airstrip polling station.
Image: ANGWENYI GICHANA

Speaking to the media at Suneka tallying, ODM National Treasurer Timothy Bosire said a senior civil servant was intent on ensuring Jubilee Party wins.

Secretary-general Edwin Sifuna said they will root for nothing less than free and credible polls. 

He said he hopes the torn box at the distribution centre is not part of the wider calculated scheme to rig. 

They claimed that some ballot boxes were being staffed and that they were being hauled to a senior government officer from the region.

The claims were denied by subcounty returning officer Benson Ambuko.