United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party’s repeat nominations in Meru County that slated for Tuesday failed to take off in at least five wards, amid claims of rigging.
The UDA elections board ordered for repeat nominations in 14 wards in the county after a previous shambolic exercise where several incumbent MCAs did not take part.
The nominations were to take place in Kibirichia, Kisima, Ruiri/Rwarera, Ntima East, Nyaki East, Nyaki west, Akirangondu, Mwanganthia, Abothuguchi West, Nkomo, Nkuene, Abogeta East, Abogeta West and Akachiu wards.
In Abogeta East, Nkuene and Abogeta West wards of Imenti South, presiding officers boycotted the exercise demanding that they be paid their April 14 arrears before commencing the work.
“I will not take part in the repeat nominations because the party has been unfair. The party had promised to use opinion polls. However, the leadership is issuing different directives from the election board. I am at the registrar of political parties to finalize my move to become an independent candidate,” said Muthuri.
In Ruiri/Rwarera, voting materials were delivered at 1pm only to be met with protests from supporters of one of the candidates who alleged ballot stuffing.
Police officers were forced to lob teargas canisters at Ruiri market after rowdy youth barricaded the Ruiri-Isiolo road citing delays and attempted rigging in the nomination exercise.
Solomon Kathunkumi, an aspirant who won in the previous exercise faulted the party for conducting a shambolic repeat nomination process.
“It is appalling that despite the party ordering a repeat of the nominations without clear reasons, they did not plan for it. It will not be possible to vote today because it is too late. We will be seeking redress or other alternatives,” Kathunkumi said.
In Nyaki East ward, voting materials were delivered as late as 3pm, while a spot check at Gakoromone market, Gakoromone Methodist church and Mwirine Polling centres in the neighbouring Ntima East ward established that the exercise was yet to kick off by 10am.
While there were polling officers at Gakoromone Methodist Church, there were no election materials, while at Mwirine, the ballot box and papers were left with the police officers as the presiding officer and clerks were a no-show.
In Nkomo and Tigania West wards, distribution of polling materials started at 10.30am.
Nyaki West MCA Martin Mworia said: “There was a go slow by polling clerks due to delayed payment but the matter seems to have been resolved.”
However, UDA county Returning Officer Bernard Kiraithe said the repeat nominations would take place in all 14 wards.