Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Kenya elections

ODM alleges plot to rig polls


Publication Date: 6/4/2008

ODM Tuesday claimed that an elaborate scheme had been hatched to rig the Kilgoris by-election in favour of the PNU candidate.

According to the party headquarters, the rigging scheme involves the use of incitement, tampering with the by-election result forms and deliberate delay of the voting process to ensure only a few voters took part, especially in Kirindon, Lolgorien and Pirrar divisions.

The latter, said ODM secretary general Anyang’ Nyong’o, was meant to frustrate voters and provoke them to violence.

“Police will then move in and poll officials will leave the venue pretending to be under threat,” claimed the ODM official.

ECK, however, dismissed the claims as baseless.

Chairman Samuel Kivuitu said it was untrue that ECK was training officers to falsify results in the June 11 by-election.

The presiding officers, their deputies and polling/counting clerks, the chairman said, were recruited on merit “and not on basis of party or ethnic affiliation.”

“The 344 POs and DPOs have been trained at Maranatha Catholic Church Hall in Kilgoris Town while the 688 polling/counting clerks will be trained at three venues; Fr Kaiser Hall in Lolgorian, Abosi Catholic Church Hall and Maranatha,” Mr Kivuitu said in a statement released in Nairobi last evening.

Prof Nyong’o told the press at Orange House that the party’s intelligence team found that the returning officer and election coordinator had drawn a special list of about 20 presiding officers and their deputies from communities perceived to be friendly to PNU, to aid rigging.

He claimed the presiding officers had been undergoing secret training at Shade Hotel in Ngong, where they are being lectured on how to facilitate rigging. The lecturers are allegedly being led by three ECK commissioners.

Some of the polling centres said to be targeted include Angata Barigoi, Kapsasian, Ololmasani, Emurwa Dikkir, Ilkerin, Njibiship, Mogondo, Chemamit, Kapueria, Murkan, Chebulu and Kapolecho.

Mr Kivuitu, who has been highly criticised in some quarters over ECK’s handling of last year’s General Election, said two commissioners from Kilgoris were in the area to monitor the polls. ECK would also accredit local and international observers and journalists for the elections, he said.

Campaign team

And the Party of National Unity was Tuesday asked to form a team to pitch tent in Embakasi and campaign for their candidate, Mr Ferdinard Waititu.

“ODM has already started their campaign and so we also need a campaign team from our party,” Mr Waititu told Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs minister Martha Karua.

He asked Ms Karua to lead the team.

PNU is yet to form a campaign team to drum up support for its candidates in the five parliamentary by-elections.

By-elections are being held in Embakasi, Emuhaya, Ainamoi, Wajir North and Kilgoris as well as in 52 civic wards.

Reported by Caroline Wafula, Muchemi Wachira and Lucas Barasa

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