Dec 14 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has warned voters in five by-elections set for Tuesday that they will not be allowed at polling stations without facemasks.
Commissioner Boya Molu said the protocols that entail the use of face masks, social distancing, disinfecting surfaces among others must be adhered to in all polling stations to curb the spread of COVID-19.
He said the COVID-19 protocols were developed in consultation with the Ministry of Health and had been circulated to all election officials for strict compliance.
“We shall have an officer who shall have a thermo-gun to check the temperature, we have water and sanitizers at every polling station, and gloves and masks for all our officials. So we are asking the public to strictly comply with these requirements,” he said.
This comes a month after President Uhuru Kenyatta announced a “No mask, No service” public sensitization campaign to encourage adherence to COVID-19 containment measures.
The by-elections will be held in Msambweni constituency, new MCAs in Kahawa-Wendani in Kiambu County, Kisumu North in Kisumu and Lake view in Nakuru County, Dabaso in Kilifi County and Wundanyi/Mbale wards in Taita Taveta County.
Msambweni Returning Officer Yusuf Abubakar Mohamed said there were no major incidents reported during the two-month for campaigns and expressed optimism of an incident-free election.
“Voters are expected to come to the polling stations masked. We are trying our bit as a Commission to contain the spread of Coronavirus,” Abubakar said.
IEBC had set the campaign period for the by-elections to commence on October 15 and cease on December 12/IEBC
The Msambweni seat fell vacant following the death of ODM legislator Suleiman Dori in March 2020.
Key candidates in the by-election are Wiper Democratic Movement’s Sheikh Abdurahman Mahmoud, Omar Boga of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and Deputy President William Ruto’s ally Feisal Bader.
The other candidates are Marere Wamwachai of The National Vision Party, Hassan Mwakulonda of Party of Economic Democracy and independent candidates Charles Bilali and Mansour Kumaka.
The candidates are scrambling for the 68,621 registered voters in Gombato/Bongwe, Ukunda, Kinondo and Ramisi Wards.