A day after it was constructed, a billboard campaign poster for Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his running mate Martha Karua was pulled down.
It was discovered in shambles on Friday morning, but it remained unclear at press time whether it was the consequence of vandalism by hooligans or strong nighttime winds.
Other campaign posters, such as those for United Democratic Alliance (UDA) candidates featuring a photo of the party’s presidential flag-bearer, Deputy President William Ruto, were unaffected.
Mr. Joseph Ngeno, the Orange Democratic Movement’s (ODM) party’s coordinator in Bomet County, Mr. Michael Ngeno, the ODM contender for the Chepalungu parliamentary seat, and Ms Irene Amayo, the party’s Nyangores ward rep hopeful, have all called for an investigation by the police.
“It’s critical that the police look into the circumstances under which the poster was ripped down only a few hours after it was put up. If it is an instance of political intolerance, then the perpetrators should be prosecuted,” Mr Joseph Ngeno said. He said the sign had been vandalized, but that the town’s other posters had not been tampered with.
“It is critical for our citizens to embrace democracy and allow politicians to compete on marketing their policies to voters without fear of intimidation or violence,” he said. Mr Michael Ngeno has urged supporters of presidential, Senate, and House of Representatives candidates to campaign peacefully ahead of the August 9 elections.
“The ODM candidates running for various seats in Bomet County are hoping for a calm, violence-free campaign period leading up to the polls,” he stated.
Ms. Hellen Taplelei, a Wiper Democratic Alliance candidate for the Bomet woman representative seat, and Ms. Jesca Cherono Langat, an independent candidate for the same seat, have both appealed for political tolerance during their campaigns.
“In the spirit of democracy, we should allow all candidates to run their campaigns in a free environment.”
“Our people have recently demonstrated a high level of political maturity by endorsing candidates for various posts without regard for the party tickets they are flying,” Ms Taplelei added. By press time, Musa Imamai, the sub-county police commander for Bomet Central, confirmed no complaint had been submitted in his office.
“Even before a complaint is filed, we are investigating the incident because it is unclear if the poster was torn apart by high winds or by political actors,” Mr Imamai added.
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