Voters in Wajir West constituency are casting their ballots in a hotly contested mini poll pitting Kanu’s Ibrahim Mohammed against Jubilee’s Ahmed Kolosh.
The exercise kicked off Thursday morning to smooth start with many polling stations opening at 6 am as scheduled and long queues were formed at various polling stations as early 5.30am.
A Presiding officer sealing a ballot box in the presence of agents before the start of polling at Wajir Girls Secondary School polling station #talkwithIEBC #byelections2019 ^JO pic.twitter.com/QH9jxmGjUH
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There were few hitches at some polling stations after the Electronic Voter Identification failed slowing down the voting process.
Voters are being identified biometrically or alphanumerically using the KIEMS kits.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officials assured that voters in polling stations that experienced the delays and still on the queue by 5.00pm will be allowed to vote.
In the affected stations, IEBC officials had to fill Form 32A to allow voters cast their ballot.
IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati has assured of a free, fair and credible by-election.
There are 27,544 registered voters in 75 polling stations. The tallying centre is at Griftu Pastoralist Training Center in Griftu Town.
The seat fell vacant after the Supreme Court nullified Mr Kolosh’s election over irregularities at the Qara polling station.
ODM Director of Elections Junet Mohammed said the party had arrived at the decision following consultations with the top leadership of the Jubilee Party during which they agreed to reciprocate Jubilee’s earlier decision to withdraw from the Migori, Ugenya and Embakasi South by-elections.
“The party has withdrawn from the April 25th by-election in Wajir West Constituency. This follows high-level consultations between Jubilee Party and ODM which arrived at the decision to reciprocate former’s earlier gesture not to field candidates in by-elections in Ugenya and Embakasi South,” he said
Prof Mohamed Yusuf who has supported the Jubilee candidate said the decision was arrived at following the intervention by the Degodia clan over fears his candidature would create divisions in the community.
Speaking at the residence of the Deputy President William Ruto’s Karen residence during a luncheon with leaders from the clan, Prof Yusuf said the decision had nothing to do with the ODM.