Bonchari by-election: Police warn against chaos ahead of poll
Candidates for Bonchari by-election in Kisii County wound up their campaigns on Saturday with Nyanza Regional Commissioner, Magu Mutindika warning that stern action will be taken against those who will dare cause chaos and disrupt the election slated for May 18.
The Commissioner said they have received information that armed goons had been hired by some individual to cause mayhem during the voting, stressing the government has deployed adequate security officers to curb it.
Magu, flanked by Kisii County Commissioner Allan Macharia and County Police Commander Francis Kooli told the press in Kisii on Saturday some of the thugs were from outside the county.
“There are also two vehicles loaded with machetes going around to be used by the goons. We deal with the situation firmly and decisively,” the commissioner said.
His remarks came even as United Democratic Alliance (UDA) and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leaders complained that security officers had harassed and arrested their supporters and disrupted their campaigns.
Assuring Bonchari voters of their security, the Regional Commissioner said they have names of individuals who had hired the vehicles and the crude weapons and directed the police commissioner to ensure they are arrested and prosecuted.
The Commissioner said three suspects had been arrested in connection with the plot to cause violence and will be arraigned on today ( Monday) adding there have been rampant cases of voter bribery and buying of voters Identity Cards.
“Some people are collecting Identity Cards ( IDs) and bribing voters to vote for their candidates. We are going to arrest those doing so,” Mutindika said.
He said the government will not allow Bonchari people denied their right to elect their Member of Parliament in afair and credible manner, stressing, those who will be involved in disrupting the mini-poll will regret.
On Saturday, the candidates, led by elected leaders and top party officials, crossed the constituency and sold their policies to woo the voters to vote for their candidates.
Jubilee Party candidate, Zebedeo Opore’s convoy snaked through various shopping centres as Governor James Ongwae led his Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) campaign team- Senator Prof. Sam Ongeri, Mps- Janet Onge’ra, Kisii County, Dr Pamella Odhiambo, Migori County and ODM Secretary General, Edwin Sifuna and former Bonchari Mp, Charles Onyancha to churches to drum up support for ODM candidate, Pavel Robert Oimeke.
Kitutu Chache South Lawmaker, Richard Onyonka, Nyamira county Mp, Jerusha Momanyi, former Kitutu Masaba Legislator, Mwancha Okioma, Kisii Township ward Representative, kefa Mogaka and KANU youth leader, Douglas Ogari accompanied Opore in his campaign trail and campaigned in markets before they concluded their campaign at Riana market.
Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) leader, Omingo Magara and Mps- Silvanus Osoro, (South Mugirango) and Vincet Kemosi, (West Mugirango) campaigned for UDA candidate, Teresa Bitutu Oroo, widow to the late area Mp, Oroo Oyioka at various markets and appealed for peaceful, free and fair elections.
The leaders lauded Bonchari people for embracing peaceful campaigns and urged Opore, the former area Mp to embrace losers and work with them if he is elected to foster development in the constituency.
“I laud Bonchari people for the peace they have shown. I am a woman and urge Opore to support Oroo’s widow,” Momanyi said, sentiments echoed by Onyonka, who commended residents for peaceful campaigns.
Opore said the candidates conducted the campaigns peacefully, adding he hoped the elections and counting of votes will be done peacefully.
“I know how to embrace losers. Do not worry about Madam Oroo. I will embrace her. I thank my friends for campaigning for me,” Opore said.
The Governor urged Bonchari people to turn up in large numbers at polling stations and elect Oimeke, whom he described as focused and development conscious.
“ I appeal to Bonchari voters to wake up early, vote wisely , return home and wait for the results. I urge you to maintain peace and embrace Covid 19 protocol during the election,” Ongwae said.
Magara said they have had a difficult time campaigning for Bitutu due to intimidation and harassment by security officers, adding it would deter voters from electing her.
Thirteen candidates are participating in the election. They include Mary Otara - United Green Movement Party (UGM), Jonah Ondieki - The New Democrats (TND), Jeremiah Atancha - Agano Party, Paul Matagaro - Mwangaza Tu and Eric Oigo - National Reconstruction Alliance (NRA). Victor Omanwa - Party of Economic Democracy (PED), Teresa Gesare - Maendeleo Chap Chap, David Ogega - Kenya Social Congress, Mogaka - PPK and Kevin Mosomi - Party of Democracy Unity (PDU) and Bitutu, UDA.
Opore, a former area Mp is competing with, Oimeke and Bitutu, who, pundits privy to local politics say have consolidated their clan support and mounted tough political campaigns with the support of the party’s top leaders.
The former area Lawmaker is being backed by Ford Kenya and KANU, Oimeke enjoys the support of top county’s leadership while Bitutu’s is being supported by Magara, PDP, Mps- Osoro, Kemosi, Alice Wahome, Kandara constituency and several Lawmakers from Rift valley allied to the Deputy President William.
Nyabuto Onyambu, a political activist says the Bonchari parliamentary race has been narrowed to Opore, Oimeke and Bitutu, who enjoy massive clan support and have spent a lot of money campaigning to clinch the seat left vacant after the death of Oroo.
He say Opore and Oimeke hail from Riana Ward with 14,715 registered voters while Bitutu hails from Bomorenda with 14,532 voters. Oimeke and Bitutu are making a debut in politics. Bogiakumu Ward has 14,338 votes while Bomariba has 9,039. The constituency has 52,624 votes up for grabs.