Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula Thursday emerged victorious with a landslide win in the Bungoma Senatorial by-elections.
Mr Wetang’ula garnered 149,458 votes, followed by New Ford Kenya’s Musikari Kombo with 81, 016 votes as at 11: 59 pm.
Political analyst David Makali who ran as an independent candidate was a distant third with 2,155 votes while former assistant minister Bifwoli Wakoli was trailed with 1,899 votes from the 942 polling centres.
From the reported voter-turn out by the IEBC, an upset by Mr Kombo against Mr Wetangula’s lead was becoming imposible due to the wide margin.
In Bomachoge Borabu Constituency in Kisii County, former MP Joel Onyancha was leading with 10, 132 votes in a tight race with his main challenger Peter Kimori of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) closely following with 9, 600 votes with only two polling stations to go.
Ford People’s Albert Nyaundi was third with 3, 317 votes as per the provisional results provided by the IEBC.
Heavy security, claims of bribery and poor voter turn out characterised the Bungoma senatorial by-election.
There were no queues in many polling stations, despite aspirants appealing to voters to come out in large numbers.
Several people, including former Kitale mayor Joshua Werunga, were arrested on charges of abducting and assaulting a voter in Webuye.
He was later arraigned before a Webuye court and released on a Sh100,000 bond after denying the charges.
Bungoma, with more than 400,000 registered voters, went back to the ballot after the High Court nullified the election of Mr Wetang’ula.
A contingent from the General Service Unit, regular and administration police was deployed in the area to beef up security in the county that saw serious violence in April this year.
Bungoma County Commissioner Maalim Mohamed, who was coordinating security in the area, said nothing has been left to chance.
“We deployed adequate security in all polling stations and set up mobile roadblocks checking all vehicles to ensure that no weapons were being transported to disrupt the exercise.
“We are calling on the politicians to stop creating unnecessary panic because all security measures have been put in place and anyone who has any information on planned acts of hooliganism should immediately report to the nearest police station,” said Mr Maalim.
By close of voting at 5pm, a team of senators and MPs supporting Mr Wetangu’la stormed the IEBC offices accusing the polls body of failing to act even after being provided with evidence of election malpractices.
Those who accompanied Mr Wetangu’la were Kakamega senator Bonny Khalwale, and MPs Eseli Simiyu, Hatib Mwashetani and Dr Chris Wamalwa.
An IEBC commissioner, Mr Mohammed Alawi, said polling materials were delivered to all polling stations, including the far-flung areas of Mt Elgon constituency, on time.
He said the exercise had kicked off without a hitch in all polling stations in the county. Most polling stations opened on time.
At Bungoma DEB Primary School polling station, there was no queue. Voters walked in, voted and walked out. The situation was the same at Kibabii Primary School and Pamus Teachers Training College polling stations.
The electronic voter identification devices were all functioning. Voters had their names first verified in the biometric register before being allowed to vote. Some voters whose names were not in the biometric register used the manual register.
Mr Wetang’ula arrived at Namakhele Primary School in Kabochei constituency and cast his vote at 9.45am, while Mr Kombo voted at Matulo in Webuye. Mr Makali voted in Bungoma town and Mr Wakoli at Msakata in Bumula constituency.
Mr Makali called on the electoral commission to act on agents found bribing voters.
He said he had information that certain party agents were bribing voters heading to polling stations.
“We have information from our agents scattered across the county that certain individuals are waiting near polling stations with the aim of handing out cash to prospective voters in order to influence their voting patterns,” he said.
Two people were arrested in connection with electoral offenses, according to the County IEBC officer, Mr Ben Misat.
IEBC also denied claims by Mr Kombo that one of his vehicles was attacked and vandalised in Sirisia by his rival’s supporters Thursday.
Mr Kombo denied claims that one of his allies was caught red-handed bribing voters.
Speaking shortly after voting at Matulo Primary School, Mr Kombo expressed concern over the low voter turnout witnessed across the county and urged the locals to spare time and cast their ballots.
“It is high time Kenyans learned and appreciated the responsibility to vote,” he said. He promised to accept the people’s verdict.