As the vote counting in the Msambweni by-election was underway, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission urged Kenyans to ignore unofficial results.
However, unofficial results seemed to place independent candidate Feisal Abdallah ahead of ODM’s Omar Boga.
Shortly before midnight, chaos broke out at Mwakigwena and at the tallying centre. Rowdy youth forced their way into the centre chanting Haki Yetu.
They accused the officials of not letting all the ballot boxes in for tallying.
In an amateur video, Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa urged the IEBC to announce the results and declare Feisal the winner, saying it was a competition and Boga’s team should concede.
Provisional results for 51 out of the 129 polling stations for Msambweni by-election placed Feisal in the lead with 4,666, followed by ODM’s Boga with 4,652.
Other candidates in the race are Wiper’s Shee Mahmoud Abdulrahman (191), UGM’s Hamisi Mwakaonje (41), Marere Wa Mwachai (40), Ali Hassan (64) and Charlse Bambo Bilali (37), Sharlet Akinyi (4) and Mansury Kumaka (17).
Boga’s campaign trail enjoyed the support of Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, who went against Kwale’s Salim Mvurya in expressing their significant attachment to the contest.
Today’s by-election in Msambweni, Kwale County, puts to test the political might of President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga on one side against that of Deputy President William Ruto on the other.
Raila has held the constituency in his grip since 2007, and is backing Boga of ODM. The constituency of more than 69,000 voters is set to elect an MP following the death of Suleiman Dori eight months ago.
Uhuru’s Jubilee party did not field a candidate in respect to the spirit of the Handshake, which has been perceived as a silent backing of the ODM candidate.
But for DP Ruto, whose allies are backing Abdallah, an independent contestant, it is about removing Raila’s grip on the Coast as he (Ruto) prepares for the high stakes 2022 General Election.
Joho signed off the campaigns, saying the by-election meant much to his political ambitions as the regional kingpin.
“If ODM’s Omar Boga loses this election, it will greatly affect my political future. You must vote for ODM and Boga,” said Joho at the final rally at Masai market in Ukunda. “We have campaigned peacefully and I humbly ask for your votes. We are not like the Tangatanga brigade, who have been insulting people.”
Last Thursday while campaigning for Boga, Raila said the by-election was a yardstick to gauge his popularity and that of the Building Bridge Initiative (BBI) in the Coast region.
“If we fail here as ODM, it means BBI will have a problem,” Raila said.
Ruto allies said the DP wants to win the seat as a test to the reception of his ‘Hustler’ politics in the country and a spring board to the 2022 elections in which he has expressed interest to vie for the top seat.
During the two-month long campaigns in the constituency, Boga successfully projected himself as the ‘Handshake’ choice who enjoys the backing of Raila and Uhuru.