Voters in Ganda Ward in Kilifi County Thursday morning defied early morning rains to elect their ward representative through a by-election.
The polling stations opened at 6.00 am in the 16 centres where 16,623 registered voters are expected to cast their ballots.
Abdul Omar Mohamed who is seeking re-election lost the seat after Kilifi County Assembly declared the seat vacant after the High Court in Mombasa nullified its election.
The immediate former MCA who is running as an independent candidate will battle it out with ODM’s Mr Reuben Katana, Jubilee Party’s Joseph Kiponda and Kadu Asili’s David Mitsanze.
Mitsanze cast his vote at the Takaye Primary School at 6.25 am while Omar cast his at Pindukiani Primary School at 9.30 am. The others were yet to cast their votes by the time of writing this story.
Election officials described the initial stages of the exercise as peaceful and hoped that the same would prevail till the closing of the poll and the eventual declaration of the winner later on Thursday or early Friday.
“The exercise started smoothly. All the 30 polling stations in the 16 centres opened on time and we hope the exercise will not experience any hurdles as the day progresses,” Returning Officer Juma Musa told journalists at the Takaye Primary School tallying centre.
Kilifi North Member of Parliament Owen Baya visited a number of the polling stations and said the exercise was peaceful.
“We are happy that despite the rains, the turnout is good and people are keeping peace,” he told journalists at the tallying centre. “We commend the IEBC for preparing well for this exercise.”
Mr Baya urged the party’s supporters to remain calm and turn out in large numbers to vote for the party’s candidate, Reuben Katana.
He commended security officers, who he said had provided adequate security in all the polling stations.
On Tuesday evening, chaos broke out at the home of Mr Katana after Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa and her supporters stormed a meeting called ostensibly to brief ODM party agents on the by-election.