IEBC official: No votes will be stolen in Matungu by-election

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is putting in place final touches ahead of the March 4 Matungu and Kabuchai by-elections.

The poll agency has been training officials like presiding officers, clerks and party agents ahead of the mini-polls.

John Kirui, the IEBC returning officer for Matungu, said they were doing everything possible to ensure the by-election would be free and fair.

He said more than 600 IEBC officials will be deployed in various parts of the constituency to boost surveillance on the by-election day.

“I can assure you no votes will be stolen as we have enough officers on the ground ready to do the job as per the election Act,” Kirui said.

The constituency has five wards; Namamali, Koyonzo, Mayoni, Kholera and Khalaba with at least 116 polling stations.

Matungu has 62,386 voters who are expected to cast their ballot to elect their member of parliament to take over a seat left vacant following the death of Justus Murunga in November last year.

At least 15 candidates, including nine independent candidates, will battle it out in the race. Major parties have fielded candidates.

The candidates are Peter Nabulindo (Amani National Congress), Alex Lanya (United Democratic Alliance) and David Were (ODM).

Others in the race are Charles Kasamani (United Democratic Party), Paul Achayo (Movement for Democracy and Growth) and Faida Auma (Maendeleo (Chap Chap).

Independent candidates are; Christabel Murunga, Eugene Murunga, Bernard Wakoli, Gregory Atoko, Kevin Borry Nectus, Wilberforce Lutta, Athman Wangara, Anzelimo Kongoti and Samuel Munyekenye.

Primary schools serving as polling centres will remain closed for learning until after the by-election.

Kirui said the agency will deploy enough clerks in the polling stations to ensure voters abide by public health directives to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

He said enough sanitiser and disinfecting stations will be placed at every polling centre.

“We will have washing points and sanitizers at the doors to ensure that all the health protocols are observed to avoid the spread of Covid-19,” said Kirui.

In Kabuchai, the Returning Officer, Esuza Benson, said they have trained Support Election Trainers (SETs), Presiding Officers and Deputy Presiding Officers who are prepared for the exercise.

“The training for ICT officers is underway and we project to train polling clerks as from 28th and 1st of March 2021.”

Esuza said they were engaging security agents to guarantee voters of their safety during voting and after the exercise.

According to him, a series of security meetings have been held between IEBC and the police.

“We deployed Voter educators in all the 4 ward to disseminate information about the by-election and the requirements because we are holding the by-election at a time the country is facing Covid-19 threat and Ministry of Health guidelines must be observed in all voting centres.”

The officials clarified that there has been no official complaint lodged with the agency over violent campaigns.

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