KIAMBAA BY-ELECTION

UDA's Njuguna in narrow Kiambaa lead amid rigging claims by Jubilee

Jubilee candidate demanded a recount in Kawaida and Muchatha polling stations.

In Summary

• Currently, provisional results show UDA's John Njuguna leading with 21,606 votes followed closely by Jubilee's Njama with 21,151 votes after 153 out of 154 polling stations reported their tallies.

• Chaos erupted early Friday morning at Karuri High School tallying centre after Jubilee Party supporters led by their candidate Kariri Njama protested over alleged rigging in the Kiambaa by-election.

Kiambaa parliamentary aspirant John Njuguna Wanjiku casts his vote at Thimbigua Primary School polling station on July 14, 2021.
Kiambaa parliamentary aspirant John Njuguna Wanjiku casts his vote at Thimbigua Primary School polling station on July 14, 2021.
Image: COURTESY

Chaos erupted early Friday morning at Karuri High School tallying centre after Jubilee Party supporters led by their candidate Kariri Njama protested over alleged rigging in the Kiambaa by-election.

They demanded a recount and tallying of votes in Kawaida, Muchatha and Gachie polling stations.

Currently, provisional results show UDA's John Njuguna leading with 21,606 votes followed closely by Jubilee's Njama with 21,151 votes after 153 out of 154 polling stations reported their tallies.

Kiambaa Returning Officer Peter Muigai informed supporters of both camps that he is waiting for the presiding officer of the remaining polling centre to come and verify the form 35A which he said was missing.

In the Muchatha ward polling station and Kawaida Nursery School polling station, the presiding offices are expected to present themselves at the tallying centre to open the ballot boxes where they are locked with the form 35 A which allows the returning officer to announce results.

Announcement of results halted at around 3 am and by 7 am no activity was going on with both candidates for UDA and Jubilee parties staying put at the tallying centre.

There is heavy police presence guarding the tallying centre with only agents, observers, IEBC officials and media allowed in.

Although there were eight aspirants, the contest had narrowed down to a two-horse race pitying Jubilee's Kariri Njama and UDA's John Njuguna.

Jubilee candidate Kariri Njama when he cast his vote for the Kiambaa parliamentary seat at Gacii Primary School on July 15, 2021.
Jubilee candidate Kariri Njama when he cast his vote for the Kiambaa parliamentary seat at Gacii Primary School on July 15, 2021.
Image: DOUGLAS OKIDDY

Other candidates in the by-election include Richard Njoroge (The New Democrat Party), Isaac Karomo (Federal Party of Kenya), Willie Mbugua (Independent), David Mugo (Independent), Evans Wainaina (Independent) and Njoroge Harrison (Independent).

The constituency has slightly more than 96,000 registered voters with 154 polling stations in five wards.

There were blame games, propaganda and low turnout during Thursday’s polls.

The polls were seen as a contest between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.

Ongoing vote counting for Kiambaa constituency during the by election at Karuri High School on July 15, 2021.
Ongoing vote counting for Kiambaa constituency during the by election at Karuri High School on July 15, 2021.
Image: DOUGLAS OKIDDY

There was heavy police deployment across the constituency to avert possible chaos.

On Thursday morning, residents confronted National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya at Kimuga polling station during the start of voting.

The angry residents claimed that Kimunya was not a voter nor an agent in the by-election.

Elsewhere, IEBC denied aiding rigging in the ongoing Kiambaa by-election following allegations made by Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria.

In a statement on Thursday, the electoral agency said claims by Kuria that some officials had sneaked out to conduct voting at growers plantation were false.

"The car in question is an IEBC vehicle being used by Commission staff who are providing technical support to the polling process. The post by Moses Kuria is therefore a false allegation. #July15thByelections," IEBC said in a tweet.

Kuria had on earlier on Thursday shared pictures of a vehicle on his social media pages alleging that IEBC officials had sneaked out KIEMS kits using the vehicle.