Violence, voter bribery marred Matungu by-elections

Some of the youths arrested during the by election

As the much-anticipated by-elections in Matungu and Kabuchai come to an end with the voters speaking a clear voice and the winners that carried the day already in their celebrations suits, acts of violence and voter bribery rocked the by-election during the mini poll to elect a new MP to replace the late Justus Murunga who succumbed to breathing complications in November, last year.

Accusations of voter bribery and voter intimidation from all sides of the political divide marred the poll.

Kakamega woman representative Elsie Muhanda was forced to flee from a group of irate youths who pelted her convoy with stones and attempted to deflate the tyres of her vehicle when she was attacked by youth at Makale polling station.

ANC candidate Peter Nabulindo who voted at Namalasire polling station said the voting process had picked up well except for outcries of voter bribery across the constituency.

“There are incidences at Khalaba, Namulungu, Nyapwaka, Mukunyuku, Namalasire where our youth have sighted officials from other parties bribing voters. We have activated our system and hope action will be taken against the offenders,” said Mr Nabulindo.

Most accused of electoral malpractice was the ODM party candidate David Were whose opponents claimed was a ‘government candidate’ and had been involved in irregularities to win the election with protection from the government officials.

Mr. Were dismissed the claims and instead, accused his competitors of using money and violence to lure voters to their sides.

Security detail at the polling centre

“Those claiming that I am bribing voters are merely afraid that I will beat them at the ballot and want to put an excuse ahead. In fact, it is them who are buying and intimidating voters,” said Mr Were.

At Munami polling station, peace escaped through the window forcing security officers to use teargas to disperse the marauding residents after a commotion ensued forcing the voting exercise to be stopped.

Trouble started when a team of ANC officials led by Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala raided the station claiming there were claims of voter intimidation.

The GSU officers and police from the DCI partially arrested youth allied to the senator forcing them to lie down on their bare stomachs before they were later released.

Senator Cleopas Malala in a confrontation during the mini polls

Senator Malala at one point wrestled with Mumias DCI boss Robert Mureithi accusing the sleuth of stealing Sh2.5 million from his car.

“The DCI had stolen the money from my car and started stashing them in a bag in his car. I managed to rescue part of it, while the rest poured down during the commotion and was scrambled for by members of the public,” claimed Mr. Malala.

Mr. Mureithi denied stealing the cash saying he wanted to use the money as evidence against voter bribery charge.

A stray bullet shot by Mr. Malala’s bodyguard allegedly hit a local after the irate members of the public attempted to damage Malala’s vehicle.

A team of ODM politicians, David Were, Edwin Sifuna, Justus Gezito and Gladys Wanga condemned the incident.