Garissa Township by-election was today characterized by low voter turnout with political leaders calling on voters to turnout and elect their MP.
The usually long queues seen during general elections were not evident in major polling stations with election officials sitting idle most of the time with voters coming in batches.
Election officials attributed the voter apathy to failed political pledges that had become synonymous with every election cycle.
There were no major incidents reported, however, there were claims of voter bribery in some places.
Local political leaders who were alarmed by the low voter turnout called for a peaceful poll.
Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale who cast his vote at Garissa library polling station expressed optimism that the ruling party UDA will carry the day.
“I am asking people of Garissa as they come to vote to keep peace because peace is paramount. This is a cosmopolitan constituency and the people’s choice must be accepted by all,” Duale said.
Duale said the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) should be given space to carry out a free, fair and credible election noting that the government should ensure adequate security during voting.
“I have voted for myself for many years but today I am voting for someone else,” he added.
Those in the race are Rtd (Major) Dekow Mohamed Barrow of United Democratic Alliance (UDA) popularly known as Major Dekow, Nassir Dolal alias Jofle United Democratic Movement (UDM), Ibrahim Malow (Narc Kenya), Abdifaisal Amin of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and former Fafi MP Abdikarim Osman of Democratic Party (DP).
Both UDA and UDM candidates who are the front runners for the seat expressed dismay at the low voter turnout asking voters to come and exercise their right to choose their representative in Parliament.
“People have come out to vote, however, there is extremely low turnout and I appeal to our people to come out to exercise their rights,” Dolal said.
Dekow said he is happy with how the IEBC was conducting the elections and the security deployment to various polling centers.
He termed as unfortunate the low voter turnout saying it’s across the constituency noting that he hopes they will come out before voting time elapses.
By Jacob Songok