Wiper Party candidate Agnes Kavindu has exuded confiding of clinching the Machakos Senatorial seat moments after casting her vote at the Kathome polling center today.
Kavindu who was accompanied by former Machakos Wiper Party gubernatorial aspirant Wavinya Ndeti said she was upbeat in succeeding the late Senator Boniface Kabaka in the race that has attracted 11 aspirants including three independent candidates.
The aspirant who unsuccessfully tried to vie for the Machakos Woman Representative seat in 2017 on a Jubilee party ticket has also expressed her confidence in the manner in which the exercise was being conducted despite the low numbers of people turning out to cast their votes.
“I want to thank God because by the end of the day I will be the Senator of Machakos. The people of Machakos have shown support to the Wiper Party and Agnes Kavindu and I want to sincerely thank them for choosing to stand by me in this election,” she told reporters shortly after casting her vote at exactly 10.40 am.
On the issue of her academic qualifications which has elicited numerous queries, Kavindu said she was no longer concerned about the matter and was currently focusing on the elections.
She however said the matter was settled the day the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commissioner (IEBC) cleared her to run for the seat.
“I have qualified and that is why the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has cleared me. If I had not been qualified(academically) the commission would not have cleared me and that is why I don’t want to dwell on that (issue),” she explained.
On her part Wavinya who is also Transport Chief Administrative Secretary urged factory owners to allow their employees to come out and cast their votes for their preferred candidates since it was their democratic right.
Wavinya who had cast her vote earlier in the day at the Athi River Social Hall lamented at the low voter turnout in many of the polling centers and challenged voters to spare some time off their busy schedule in order to exercise their civic duty.
“I am urging members of the public to come in large numbers and cast their votes. I am also calling upon factory owners to give their employees time off in order to give them a chance to cast their votes. This is their democratic right,” she said.
Early today County Returning office Joyce Wamwala told reporters that voting in all the 1,335 polling stations began well without any hitches.
Wamwala further said enough security officers had been deployed in all the polling centers to ensure there was adequate security to both their electoral staff and those coming to cast their votes.
She also said names of all the 11 candidates that were cleared by the commission will be on the ballot despite two of the candidates having earlier withdrawn from the race.
Among those who pulled out from the contest include Chama Cha Uzalendo’s Lily Nduku Mwanza and John Mutua Katuku who was running on a Maendeleo Chap Chap Party ticket.
Katuku surprised all and sundry on Tuesday night after he said he was pulling out of the race with less than 72 hours to the mini-poll.
A total of 9,082 poll officials including security personnel are overseeing the one-day exercise which political pundits have described as a two-horse race between Kavindu and United Democratic Alliance candidate Urbanus Muthama.
Others in the crowded race include Francis Munyambu(Independent), Sebastian Nthama (Independent), John Musingi (Muungano Party), and Stanley Muindi of Party of Economic Development.
The seat fell vacant on December 11 following the death of Dr. Boniface Kabaka.
The late legislator died at the Nairobi hospital where he had been rushed after falling ill in a city restaurant.
Polling stations opened their doors to the public at 6 am and close at 5 pm although the commission says those still in the queue past the official voting hours will be allowed to cast their votes.
The winner of the elections will be announced at the County Tallying Centre located at the Machakos Academy as soon as results from all polling stations have been received.
Machakos has a total of 622,965 registered voters as per the current IEBC poll data.
by Samuel Maina/Ann Kangero