RIGGING CLAIMS

Kalonzo, Mutua trade accusations over Machakos poll rigging claims

Kalonzo claims Wiper candidate was leading in popularity with 88 percent

In Summary

•Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua dismisses Kalonzo's claims saying he had sensed defeat.

•Machakos senatorial by-elections will be conducted on March 18.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka speaking to MCAs from the Ukambani region at Stoni Athi Resort in Athi River, Machakos County on February 18.
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka speaking to MCAs from the Ukambani region at Stoni Athi Resort in Athi River, Machakos County on February 18.
Image: Courtesy

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and his Maendeleo Chap Chap counterpart Alfred Mutua have have traded accusations of alleged electoral irregularities in the forthcoming Machakos senatorial by-election.

Kalonzo claims a senior IEBC official had been sighted in Governor Mutua’s office ostensibly to plot rigging in favour of Mutua Katuku, who is the Maendeleo Chap Chap candidate.

“Wavinya Ndeti defeated Mutua in 2017 but because of rigging, he managed the 54 per cent theft. So, if there are county officials hired as either clerks in polling stations or returning officers for the forthcoming Machakos senatorial by-election, we want their names removed immediately,” Kalonzo said.

He addressed the press shortly after holding a meeting with local church leaders at Maanzoni lodge in Athi River, Machakos County on Friday.

The by-election will be on March 18.

Kalonzo said Machakos county returning officer Joyce Wamalwa shouldn’t allow herself to be used by Mutua to rig the election in favour of MCC candidate Katuku.

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua addresses the public in Matungulu, Machakos County on February 19.
Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua addresses the public in Matungulu, Machakos County on February 19.
Image: GEORGE OWITI

“We are telling the officer to be careful to guard her reputation, future, and ensure this by-election does not soil her career. She shouldn’t be used by Mutua. It has been said the officer has been seen in the governor’s office and the people of Machakos will not accept that,” Kalonzo said.

Kalonzo claimed his party’s candidate, Agnes Kavindu, was leading in popularity at 88 per cent and therefore it was impossible to rig out such a candidate.

The Wiper party leader also claimed county government workers had been pulling off campaign posters for Kavindu with the aim of ensuring only Katuku’s posters are visible.

“That is an electoral offense that the IEBC must come out and speak against. The returning officer should disqualify a candidate who destroys publicity materials of a competitor,” Kalonzo said.

Governor Mutua in a swift rejoinder dismissed Kalonzo’s allegations as cowardly claims of a person who had sensed defeat.

“Just because they have sensed defeat they have begun claims there is rigging by the IEBC. There is nothing like that. That is cowardice. They (Wiper) have no strategy. Nobody is removing their posters, it is them who have printed few, which is why theirs are not visible,” Mutua said as he inspected development projects in Matungulu subcounty on Friday.

Mutua said it was a bad culture in Kenyan politics where players allege rigging after sensing defeat.

“That is a bad culture. They are now trying to raise rigging claims because they know they are losing,” Mutua said.

Mutua said as a lawyer, Kalonzo knows too well that he who alleges must prove his or her claims.

“Where is the evidence? The claims are part of their desperate attempt to get sympathy. I urge our people to stay focused and vote for the most qualified candidate in the name of Katuku.”

At the same time, Katuku, who was campaigning in parts of Mwala constituency dismissed the claims of rigging saying the wiper team had panicked.

“Kalonzo should give us a break. If people have decided it is me they are electing, he should respect the will of the people without dragging IEBC in the issue,” Katuku said.

 “I see they have sensed defeat, let them withdraw their candidate and support my candidature. Kalonzo shouldn’t cry foul, this by-election isn’t about 2022," he added. 

Edited by EKibii