Two polling agents for United Democratic Alliance (UDA) candidate Francis Muraya have reportedly been arrested in the ongoing Rurii ward by-election.
UDA, in a statement on Tuesday morning, claimed Brian Mbugua and Daniel Githinji were arrested by police outside Rurii Polytechnic and taken to Ol Kalou police station.
“This was moments after their car was detained and their phones confiscated by the police,” the statement reads.
The party associated with Deputy President William Ruto protested the arrest accusing the police of being used by certain state officials to intimidate its officials.
Statement on the arrest of UDA agents in the ongoing Rurii ward by-election. pic.twitter.com/rb94Y7nOxt
— United Democratic Alliance (@UDAKenya) May 18, 2021
According to UDA Secretary-General Veronica Maina, UDA agents at Mugumoini have been denied entry and “strangers purporting to be UDA agents have taken charge”.
She added that police have mounted unnecessary roadblocks across the Ward all aimed at intimidating voters.
“It’s unfortunate that 29 years after first multi-party elections and 10 years after a progressive constitution which guarantees the rights of citizens to multi-party democracy, misguided agents of the state are still using police to intimidate voters,” she added.
The party is now asking the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to condemn the acts.
“We urge IEBC to take note of these intimidations and condemn them for what they are; abuse of power by the Executive. We urge voters in Rurii ward not to be intimidated and come out in large numbers to vote and safeguard our democracy,” the party said.
The Rurii by-election has been touted as a major duel between Ruto and Jubilee party leader President Uhuru Kenyatta as the rift in the ruling party continues to widen.
Jubilee has fronted Peter Thinji to succeed the late John Mburu Githinji ‘Wamaria’.
The IEBC is also conducting two other by-elections in Juja and Bonchari Constituencies today.