– ODM Director of Communications Philip Etale has been arrested in Malindi just moment before voting begins. He was taken to the Kilifi Police Station
– Etale was suspected to be having election materials that he might have been planning to use in the Malindi parliamentary by-election
A top ODM party official has been arrested in Malindi.
Philip Etale, the ODM communications director, was arrested at a hotel in the town at around 1am on Monday, March 7.
“Philip Etale was picked from his room by about 20 police in both uniform and civilian clothes,” said Dennis Onyango, communications director at Raila Odinga Secretariat.
According to Onyango, the police officers suspected that Philip Etale had election materials. They confiscated his phone and laptops for investigations. Etale was then driven away in a convoy of three cars to Kilifi Police Station which is 48 kilometres away from the town.
Philip Etale had accused the Jubilee coalition and Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission of “monkey business” just hours to the Malindi parliamentary by-election.
He said that over 90 MPs, 150 members of county assemblies and other CORD supporters had arrived in the constituency to ensure that nothing happens to ODM candidate Willy Mtengo’s votes.
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On Thursday, March 3, another ODM member was arrested from a hotel in Malindi. Mwereni Ward MCA Kassim Pojo was accused of bribing locals to vote in favour of Mtengo.
The Malindi seat fell vacant following the appointment of Dan Kazungu as cabinet secretary for mining.
The race has arguably remained a contest between Cord’s Mtengo and Jubilee candidate Philip Charo though there are other candidates as well. They are: David Mangi (Shirikisho Party of Kenya), Reuben Katana (Kadu-Asili), Ali Attas Shariff (Labour Party of Kenya), Peter Ponda (Chama cha Uzalendo) and Nelson Gunga (Federal Party of Kenya).
An opinion poll conducted by Trends and Insights For Africa, between February 26 and 28, gave Mtengo a wide lead in the race. The poll indicated that Willy Mtengo would win the Malindi by-election by 61%. The survey placed Jubilee candidate Charo second with 29%. It gave a (+/-) 4% margin of error.