Voting in the Msambweni parliamentary by-election race began Tuesday at 6 am in the 60 polling centres and 219 polling stations across the constituency in Kwale County.
Voting largely kicked off to a smooth start across the coastal constituency amid low turnout.
Eight candidates cleared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) are running in the by-election occasioned by the death of area MP Suleiman Dori in March.
They include Omar Boga (ODM) party, Feisal Bader (independent), Charles Bilali (Independent), Marere Wamwachai (National Vision Party), Hassan Mwakulonda (Party of Economic Democracy), Mahmoud Sheikh (Wiper Party), Khamis Mwakaonje (United Green Movement) and Mansury Kumaka (Independent).
The cosmopolitan constituency has 69,003 registered voters spread across the four assembly wards of Uknda, Ramisi, Kinondo and Bongwe/Gombato.
The parliamentary by-election comes amid the Covid-19 pandemic situation and in order to ensure measures on curbing the coronavirus spread IEBC officials ensure nobody without a facemask accessed the polling stations.
IEBC Msambweni constituency returning officer Yussuf Abubakar said all the 219 polling stations were disinfected ahead of the voting day.
“The Msambweni mini-poll is taking place under the shadow of Covid-19 and thus we have put in place strict regulations in the polling stations to combat the spread of the coronavirus,” he said.
He said masks remain mandatory and temperature checks are routine when voters are coming into the voting booths.
On Tuesday as voting kicked off, specially designated IEBC clerks ensured voters washed their hands with soap and running water and observed social distancing as they queued to cast their ballot.
The main contenders in the race are ODM party candidate Omar Boga and independent candidate Feisal Bader.
Boga is a former Bongwe-Gombato civic leader and Bader is a former personal assistant to the late MP.
The two candidates are seen as the favorites in the by-poll to win the race which has been billed as a two horse race.
Boga cast his vote at 8am in Jogoo grounds polling station in Ukunda Township while his main rival Bader voted at 10.30 am at Gazi primary school polling station.
By Hussein Abdullahi