Mr. Reuben Mwamure Katana of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is the new Member of County Assembly for Ganda Ward in Kilifi County.
Mr. Katana trounced three other candidates for the hotly contested seat after garnering 4,177 in results declared by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Ganda Ward Returning Officer Juma Musa at the tallying centre in Takaye Primary School Thursday night.
Katana’s closest challenger, independent candidate Abdul Omar Mohamed, got 2,331 votes while Joseph Kiponda of the Jubilee Party and David Iha Mitsanze of Kadu Asili garnered 589 votes and 362 votes respectively.
The by-election was marred by a low voter turnout that was attributed to heavy rains that pounded Malindi the whole of Thursday and a heavy police presence that could have scared away some voters.
Mr. Musa said that only 7,469 voters, representing 45.15 percent of the 16,623 registered voters, turned out to vote in the mini poll.
The seat fell vacant following a successful petition against Mr. Mohamed’s victory.
Mohamed had won the seat on an ODM ticket, but being a close ally of Malindi Member of Parliament Aisha Jumwa, who has defied the party for allegedly persecuting her for her association with Deputy President William Ruto, decided to seek re-election as an independent candidate.
Mohamed’s loss is also a big loss to Ms. Jumwa, who sacrificed her time and resources to campaign for the independent candidate, vowing to teach the party that sponsored her to the National Assembly a lesson.
The abrasive legislator is eyeing the Kilifi gubernatorial seat and was hoping to use the by-election not only to prove that ODM was no longer the popular party in the county, but also to gauge her popularity.
Jumwa was on Tuesday night arrested following a gun drama at the home of the ODM candidate that led to the death of one man.
She spent two nights in police custody before a Mombasa court released her on a Sh500,000 cash bail pending investigations.
Speaking immediately after being declared winner, Mr. Katana urged the residents of Ganda ward to unite for accelerated development.
“I know this by-election has divided the people of Ganda on political and religious grounds, but I am calling upon all residents and my opponents to join hands with me so that we can realise development in the remaining three years of this term,” he said.
He praised IEBC for conducting what he termed as a free and fair by-election and security agents for ensuring the exercise went on smoothly.
By Emmanuel Masha