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March 22, 2018

Shops, hotels closed as West Pokot waits for results of tight contest for governor

Business premises remain closed in makutano town after NCIC named west Pokot as hot spot Marryann Chai
Business premises remain closed in makutano town after NCIC named west Pokot as hot spot Marryann Chai

Business premises remained closed in most towns in West Pokot county as some businesspeople feared the outcome of the governor race.

Samson Aturokoi said many businesspeople closed their premises, fearing incurring losses when the final results are announced.

“We are afraid of eruption of skirmishes in this town after it was mapped as a hotspot. Nobody wants to incur losses like what happened in the 2007-08 post-election violence,” he said.

Aturokoi said residents are eagerly waiting for the governor contest final results as most polling centres had already transmitted their results.

In Makutano town, most shops, hotels, supermarkets and Makutano bus park remained closed.

Only a few people were seen in the town as police vehicles patrolled.

The governor seat attracted two aspirants — John Lonyangapuo (Kanu) and incumbent Simon Kachapin (Jubilee).

During campaigns, Kachapin supporters claimed they will not accept the outcome of the results if they do not favour Jubilee team.

But after voting during the General Election on Tuesday, Kachapin said he will accept results.

Provisional results by 10am yesterday showed that Lonyangapuo was leading by 69,673 votes and Kachapin was at 50,794. For the senator position, Kanu's Samuel Poghisio was headed for an early win with 72,805 votes against Jubilee's Julius Murgor who had 47,156.

This was after tallying from 578 out of the 712 polling stations.

The voter turnout in the county was 68 per cent. West Pokot county had 180,332 registered voters and 3,969 votes cast were rejected.

Makutano bus park was empty with only two vehicle spotted heading to Kitale town.

Passenger Hellen Chesang said she boarded a vehicle heading to Kitale town at 7am and by 10am she was still at the stage waiting for more passengers.

“Many people yesterday cast their votes and left the town,” she said.

A matatu drivers at the stage said many matatu owners will not allow their vehicles to operate, fearing losses due to skirmishes.

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