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September 24, 2017

Baringo residents threaten to join NASA after failed Jubilee primaries

Jubilee supporters in Baringo county speak to journalists after party primaries failed to kick off, April 21, 2017. /JOSEPH KANGOGO
Jubilee supporters in Baringo county speak to journalists after party primaries failed to kick off, April 21, 2017. /JOSEPH KANGOGO

Thousands of Jubilee supporters in Baringo county have threatened to join to NASA after failed party primaries on Friday.

They said they trusted and believed in Jubilee democracy, but the failed nominations has disheartened them.

"We thought Jubilee is organised and will prove to NASA [they have] a transparent and qualified [process]. But if this is the trend, then I don't believe we will ever have a fair exercise even during August election," said Kabarnet resident Joshua Kuto.

Kuto said he is ready to move to other parties like NASA "if my only hope in Jubilee can be compromised this way".

He said he closed his business in the morning hoping to simple cast his vote at Visa Oshwal Primary School polling station and return in time.

But he said on arriving at the centre a few minutes past noon the exercise was yet to kick off.

Another voter Abraham Ruto accused Jubilee incumbents of disrupting the exercise.

Voters speak to journalists after failed Jubilee primaries in Baringo, April 21, 2017. /JOSEPH KANGOGO

"Either Jubilee assures us a fair election to choose our own leaders or we are all defecting to NASA," he said.

"I was awake the whole night and I heard that sitting leaders were walking around dishing out money and buying voters," Ruto said.

He also said some might have made away with some of the ballot materials intending to steal the votes.

Rebecca Chemobo said, "We need total change for our leaders in Baringo but if the incumbent Jubilee leaders are restraining us from exercising our democratic right then we are shifting to other welcoming parties."

Primaries in Baringo North, Central and South; Mogotio; and Eldama-Ravine subcounties failed to kick off due to similar delays.

More than 50 anti-riot police officers were deployed to stop more than 300 residents who flocked county offices demanding the release of ballot boxes.

A Jubilee party member shows journalists his member's card in Baringo county, April 21, 2017. /JOSEPH KANGOGO

Jubilee county election board chair Bernard Lotole suspended the exercise to the displeasure of residents.

He accused officials at the headquarters of dispatching insufficient materials to cater to the large number of voters.

"The party headquarters already knew the number of voters on the ground and yet they supplied fewer materials," Lotole said.

Baringo is among 11 counties where primaries were cancelled following delays and chaos.

Jubilee secretary general Raphael Tuju apologised to voters and aspirants over the incidents saying he takes full responsibility.

President Uhuru Kenyatta reportedly summoned party officials to explain why the primaries have been marred in various parts of the country just as the exercise kicked off.

More on this: Tuju 'takes responsibility' for chaotic Jubilee primaries, cancels voting in 11 counties

Read: Uhuru summons JP officials, forced to intervene in chaotic primaries

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