By Lillian Mutavi
There was a low voter turnout on Thursday as Machakos residents went to the ballot to elect their next senator.
IEBC commissioner Boya Molu confirmed that there was no much action as late as 2pm.
The exercise kicked off at 6 am and short queues were witnessed almost in all parts across the county.
Nine candidates are fighting to replace Senator Boniface Kabaka, who passed on last year.
They are,Agnes Kavindu Muthama (Wiper), Urbanus Muthama Ngengele (United Democratic Alliance), John Musingi (Muungano Party), Stanley Masai Muindi (Party of Economic Democracy), Edward Musembi Otto (Ford Asili), and Simeon Kioko Kitheka (Grand Dream Development Party).
Other contestants are Sebastian Nzau, Jonathan Maweu, and Francis Musembi who are vying as independent candidates.
The names of Maendeleo Chap Chap aspirant Mutua Katuku and CCU Lily Nduku still appeared on the ballot papers despite them pulling out of the race.
Mr Molu said that it was expected for a by election as it was a working day but remained optimistic of higher number late in the evening.
“We opened on time and so far no incidence has been reported and the voting is going on though slowly, we are requesting everyone to stay calm for the exercise to be successful”Mr Molu said.
Mr Bolu said that they also followed covid—19 protocols where voters washed hands at centres placed in all polling stations.
This was also echoed by the Machakos county commissioner Fredrick Ndunga.
The County commissioner said that he had traversed Machakos,Matungulu,Kangundo and Mwala subcounties and elections were going on well with out interruption .
He added that enough security has been deployed in each and every area including polling centres and polling stations and even on the roads that lead to voting placesHe said the turn is very low but there was hope that turn up will rise.He made an ernest appeal for voters to go and vote.
Wiper senatorial aspirant, Agnes Kavindu voted at Kathome polling station while addressing the media she requested residents to participate in the ongoing voting exercise peacefully.
“I want to thank God as by the end of the day people will know their senator who am sure its me everywhere have made communication they are assuring me “kavaa mama” –her campaign slogan,”she said.
She also claimed voter bribery was ongoing and some people had been arrested however this could not be collaborated by authorities in the region.
She requested all Mavoko factory and business owners to release workers for them to exercise their democratic right to vote.
Transport CAS Wavinya Ndeti who voted earlier at Mavoko speaking to media at Kathome, requested everyone to participate by voting so as to elect a good leader.
UDA aspirant Albanus Ngengele Muthama also voted at Mwala DEB primary where he allayed fears that there was voter bribery citing that he was sure of his win following a vigorous campaign.
He took issue with police for allegedly harassing and arresting some of his supporters.
He said there were allegations of voter buying adding that he was sure he would win hence no need of voter buying and bribery.
Simon kitheka of GDDP said he had voted at Machakos level 5 hospital polling centre where he said there are rumours of vote buying but called on voters not to accept bribery this time as elections should be free and fair.
He added bad leadership comes due to bribery and called on government to act swiftly and arrest the culprits.