Ayacko takes early lead in Migori Senate mini-poll

George Odiwuor and Baraka Karama @PeopleDailyKe

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party candidate in the Migori senatorial by-election Ochillo Ayacko was last night headed for victory barring any upset in the by-election marked by low voter turnout.

By the time of going to press, preliminary results indicated that the ODM candidate was leading followed by Federal Party of Kenya (FPK) candidate Eddy Oketch.

In Kuria East constituency, 21 polling stations out of 80 had posted the results in which Ayacko was leading with 1,268 votes, Oketch (370), Samwel Otieno (independent)  (25), Peter Jobando (20) and Dickson Ogolla (14) while in Suna West constituency results from 16 polling stations out of 88 showed the ODM candidate had secured 2,953 votes and Oketch 1,445. In Kuria West, 23 polling stations indicated Ayacko leading with 1,112 against Oketch’s 770.

Elsewhere, Rongo constituency recorded 42 per cent voter turnout. The constituency has 97 polling stations. Migori county has a total of 826 polling stations.

Low voter turnout and allegations of electoral malpractices marred the by-election. Very few people turned up to vote in an exercise where politicians accused each other of vote staffing and rigging.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries (IEBC) officials attributed the low voter turnout to it being a work day.

“May be it is because it is a weekday. Scores of people may have gone to their farms as it is planting season while others may have reported to their work places. Very few voters are coming,” said Zachary Boke, a deputy presiding officer at Igena Primary School.

At Migori Primary School in Suna West constituency, an average of 15 voters were present at various queues in polling centres from morning to midday.

At Rongo Town Hall in Rongo constituency, IEBC officials were seen relaxed in the afternoon after voters failed to turn up.

The single ballot paper had pictures and symbols of six candidates including that of Solomon Hodo of People Democratic Party (PDP) who withdrew from the race two weeks ago to support FPK.

Meanwhile, the two top candidates accused each other of electoral misconduct. Oketch accused Ayacko of engaging in electoral malpractices claiming several MPs and other politicians from other counties including Homa Bay, Kisumu and Siaya were in Migori to influence the exercise.

“I have walked around and established that ODM politicians including MCAs are influencing the voting exercise. They are walking around with my competitor to influence how people cast their ballot,” said Oketch.

He alleged that electoral malpractice and voter intimidation was rampant in Suna East constituency.

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