Jubilee Party nominations ended in disarray countrywide today, following a tumultuous kick-off.
After the initial cancellation in 17 counties, the party headquarters last evening owned up to the disastrous start and cancelled the nominations in all the 21 counties that were scheduled to hold the primaries yesterday.
The nominations were to be held in Kirinyaga, Elgeyo Marakwet, Meru, Uasin Gishu, Baringo, Bomet, Laikipia, Murang’a, Tharaka Nithi, Kiambu, Nyandarua, Embu, Kericho, West Pokot, Nandi, Nakuru, Nyeri, Kajiado, Narok, Trans-Nzoia and Taita-Taveta. Secretary general Raphael Tuju said the party’s National Elections Board had decided to cancel nominations in all the counties. He said a new date for the nominations is scheduled to be announced this morning.
Nominations in Nairobi, which were slated for Monday will now be held on Tuesday.
A widespread shortage of ballot papers, claims of rigging, disputes over the voters register and general disorganisation touched off chaos and confusion as aspirants and their supporters demanded action from the party leadership.
Earlier in the day, the party headquarters had postponed the primaries in 17 counties— Narok, Kajiado, Kericho, Bomet, Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia, Baringo, Nakuru, Elgeyo Marakwet, Embu and Nandi, Murang’a, Meru, Laikipia, Nyeri, Kiambu, Nyandarua.
Party leader President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto reportedly summoned officials led by Tuju to a meeting following the chaotic start of the exercise.
On Thursday, President Uhuru Kenyatta addressed the nation from State House, Nairobi and promised that the primaries would be credible. He also warned against any attempts to disrupt the voting.
Police had a hectic time containing and dispersing rowdy crowds and supporters of rival camps who were engaging in fights and running battles.
In Nakuru, police used tear gas canisters to disperse a group of rowdy youths who attempted to disrupt voting at St Xavier Primary School where the exercise was running smoothly.
The angry youth demanded that the entire exercise be called off since some of the polling stations did not have sufficient ballot papers.
Chaos occasioned by shortage of ballot papers were also witnessed in many counties.
In Laikipia and Trans Nzoia counties, angry voters burned ballot papers to protest insufficient voting material and delayed voting.
Ballot boxes and voting material were burned in Kanyoni, Mugumo, Bungoma, Likii and Nyaregeno polling centres in Laikipia while in Baraka Dispensary, voters tore up ballot papers and destroyed ballot boxes.
In Kiharu, party supporters in Gatuya Primary School polling station protested that only 450 ballot papers were available against 1,064 registered voters.
“We want all the ballot papers brought here because we don’t know if the missing papers will be used to manipulate the results,” said Beatrice Mugure.
Claims by some aspirants that election officials had colluded with their rivals to steal the election was also responsible for the disruption of the exercise in many counties.
In Kuresoi North, Nakuru county, angry youth stormed Mau Summit Secondary School where election materials had been kept, claiming area MP Moses Cheboi had stuffed pre-marked ballot papers in the ballot boxes on Thursday night, accusations that the MP denied.
When the police dispersed the protesters from the school, they barricaded the Nakuru-Eldoret road causing a traffic snarl up.
In Gatundu, police arrested three suspects allegedly found with crude weapons, including slashers and wooden batons, in a vehicle in Ichaweri.
Police used teargas in Thika stadium to disperse angry supporters protesting lack of ballot papers. In Githunguri, chaos broke out after word went round that the area MP had tampered with the ballot papers.
In Bomet, Chaos erupted at a meeting following disagreements between some aspirants and party officials. The leaders led by Bomet Jubilee Party chairman Bernard Mutai vowed not to proceed with the polls.
In the North Rift, governors Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu) and Alex Tolgos ( Elgeyo Marakwet) demanded the sacking of Tuju, blaming him for the failure of the primaries in most counties.
Tuju also came under fire in Narok county where some aspirants accused the party secretariat of poor handling of the primaries.
Mayone Matunke, who is vying for the Narok South parliamentary said Tuju had failed to walk his talk.
“My supporters are now threatening to decamp from Jubilee party to Nasa because of the confusion in the party,” he said.