- The electoral body and security agencies have been asked to be vigilant throughout polling and counting.
- Voters will be choosing from 24 candidates
Observers and Kibra voters have called for a peaceful, honest election as all eyes shift to Deputy President William Ruto and ODM chief Raila Odinga.
Voters troop to the polls Thursday in a contest considered a dress rehearsal for the 2022 General Election and a test of muscle for both Ruto and Raila.
The winner succeeds MP Ken Okoth who died in July, triggering the hotly contested by-election.
ODM's Bernard Okoth, Ken's brother, faces Jubilee's McDonald Mariga, an ex-football star and Eliud Owalo of ANC. Twenty-four candidates are on the ballot.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission yesterday indicated that it was all systems go for the by-election.
On Wednesday ballot papers were being distributed to the 183 polling stations from the constituency tallying centre at the Nairobi City County Inspectorate Training College.
The poll will be overseen by 188 presiding officers and 625 clerks.
There are 118,658 voters listed on the IEBC roll.
Sarang’ombe Ward has 30,754 registered voters, followed by Woodley-Kenyatta Golf Course and Makina wards that have 28,066 and 25,695 registered voters, respectively. Lindi Ward completes the list with 16,688 registered voters.
The Raila Education Centre will host 2,959 registered voters from Old Kibera Primary School, while 1,980 registered voters from three polling stations in Kilimanjaro Avenue off Mara Road, Kusco Centre polling centre will cast their votes at Upperhill School.
Some 4,387 registered voters from Kenyatta Market Parking Lot have been moved to Mbagathi Road Primary School.
Another 3,549 voters from Golf Course Playing Grounds have been relocated to Shadrack Kimalel Primary. Voters in Ayany Primary School Playing Field (7896 registered voters) and Ayany Primary School Playing Field (6017 registered voters) have been relocated to Olympic Primary School and Olympic Secondary School.
The Elections Observation Group (Elog) and Haki Africa — a consortium of six civil society groups accredited to observe the election — called on the IEBC and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to be vigilant in before, during and after the voting and counting.
Elog National Coordinator Mulle Nzau told a press conference that IEBC and DCI should deal decisively with anyone engaging in violence and other electoral malpractices.
“They should take the necessary legal steps against any person, candidate or party who might violate the Electoral Code of Conduct or who commits an electoral offence,” he said.
Shaffie Ali, chairman of the Nubian Rights Forum — a member of Haki Africa —said the Kibra race is hotly contested.
He said how the IEBC handles the poll would be an indicator of the electoral body’s preparedness to manage the 2022 General Election.
“The poll will be a litmus test for the IEBC. We will issue a preliminary statement on Friday and a final one a week later, stating whether the electoral body would have lived up to expectations,” Ali said.
He said both the electoral body and security agencies have a duty to deliver a credible election.
Meanwhile, women leaders from the Kamba community who are supporting ODM in the race cautioned leaders against going round claiming Raila was disrespectful to them.
They asked why male politicians from their community were demanding an apology from Raila following his recent remarks yet the sentiments were not directed at them.
Ann Joseph, a businesswoman at Kenyatta Market, said telling Kamba women in Kibra that the ODM leader made derogatory remarks about them amounted to incitement.
“Raila did not insult Kamba women. It is wrong for people to come here and tell us that we should not vote for ODM because Raila insulted us,” she told Kamba women from the constituency meeting at a hotel in Kenyatta Market.
Raila had over the weekend, while in Kibra, stated Kamba community members are loyal and faithful and tend to keep their promises just like their women.
Elog said that during the campaigning that ended on Monday there were widespread allegations of bribery, intimidation and undue influence.
It also said that apart from bribery claims, there were also incidents where posters were defaced, confrontation and violence between supporters of opposing sides at rallies.
“Elog noted that despite candidates being able to campaign freely all over the constituency with no incidences of restrictions or interference from authorities, there were a number of reported cases where opposing campaigns clashed over venues. This resulted in confrontations between the rival groups,” Mulle said.
Security was intensified in the constituency after Woodley MCA, Mwangi Njihia’s house was broken into on Wednesday morning.
Njihia said the incident was politically motivated and amounted to intimidation.
Ford Kenya has fielded Khamisi Butichi who during the campaigns promised to pull surprises.
Of the 24 candidates cleared, 17 candidates are sponsored by political parties while seven are running as independents
Ruto’s camp has boasted of having invaded Raila’s 'bedroom' to bring development to the constituency.
Raila, on the other hand, termed the poll a contest between the Handshake Team and Team Tangatanga allied to Ruto.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has kept off the contest save for the one time when he was photographed with Mariga at State House.