BY CORRESPONDENT,17TH DEC,2021-Jubilee Party’s Donald Fundi has beaten his rival from the Deputy President William Ruto led United Democratic Alliance Party (UDA) candidate Daniel Kimuyu in the hotly contested Mahoo Ward by-election held on Thursday in Taveta sub-county.
Fundi garnered 1,609 votes against Kimuyu’s 1358 votes while Obwoge Samuel of Tujibebe Wakenya Party finished a distant third with only 91 votes.
The election was, however, marred with chaos in some of the polling stations where UDA supporters decried intimidation from unknown people.
As a result, two agents from Jubilee and UDA were arrested for causing chaos at Mahoo Primary School polling station. Police said the agents fought at the polling station, temporarily disrupting the election exercise.
There was a heavy presence of police who manned the 14 polling stations.
The seat fell vacant after the death of MCA Ronald Sagurani who succumbed to Covid-19 complications in August.
While announcing the results, Abdul Jamanda, Taveta Sub-county Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Returning Officer lauded the residents for peacefully taking part in the exercise.
“We did not have a major challenge in the by-election. I therefore urge all the residents to uphold the same and practice politics of tolerance,” he said.
The hotly contested by-election has been seen as a fight for supremacy between President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee and his deputy Dr William Ruto.
Taveta MP Naomi Shabaan had thrown her weight behind the Jubilee candidate while former governor John Mruttu rallied support for UDA.
Despite enjoying a good following in the county, the ODM party did not file a candidate, in what seems to be a tactical move to solidify support for Jubilee candidates through the handshake agreement.
Both Shabaan and Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja attended the final announcement of the results where they celebrated the victory.
“Jubilee has retained the seat without much struggle. This is a very strong message that the electorates are sending to those opposed to the ruling party,” the Taveta legislator said.
She said that they shall continue solidifying support for the Jubilee party and ODM through Azimio la Umoja in the region ahead of next year’s general polls.
Earlier, former Governor John Mruttu had protested alleged voter bribery. He said some people were moving from different voting centers distributing bribes and threatening voters.
Mruttu further claimed that voters at Mahoo polling station were threatened by an armed gang that had been deployed to cause fear among the party supporters.
Taveta Sub County Police Commander Giffinalis Baraza denied claims of bribery and intimidation. He said only two people had been arrested for fighting in a voting center and that all other centers were peaceful.