Low voter turnout marked the Machakos Senate by-election that kicked off on Thursday morning, March 18.
Two of the leading contestants in the Machakos race, Agnes Kavindu Muthama and Urbanus Ngengele, cast their ballots early Thursday morning.
Kavindu, who is running on a Wiper ticket cast her vote at Kathome polling station where she was accompanied by Wavinya Ndeti, the former Kathiani MP who was Wiper’s gubernatorial candidate in the 2017 General Election.
Ngengele, who is running on the United Democratic Movement (UDA), a party linked with Deputy President William Ruto, cast his vote at the Mwala DEB Primary School.
Several high-profile candidates pulled out of the race that had been expected to be hotly-contested having attracted 11 candidates.
The rivalry between DP Ruto and former vice president Kalonzo Musyoka will be put to the test following the pulling out of Governor Alfred Mutua’s candidate, John Mutua Katuku.
Katuku’s withdrawal was a major boost for Kavindu, who has the backing of Kalonzo, Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Wetangula and Gideon Moi.
Kalonzo has been seeking to stump his authority in the Ukambani while Ruto is looking to make in-roads in the vote-rich region ahead of the 2022 presidential election.
A win for Ngengele will be a major slight for Kalonzo as it will expose his soft underbelly in his backyard. It will be particularly painful if he loses to Ruto. He has the task to deliver the same way his partners won in Kabuchai and Matungu,” said Sharif-Peter Mogire, a political scientist.
“The withdrawal of Katuku which was instigated at State House cleared the way for a Kalonzo win but Ruto will still claim some sort of credit of Ngengele returns good performance,” Mogire said.