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Embakasi South by-election: Did Sumra, Mawathe just flout election laws?

Embakasi South candidates Julius Mawathe and Irshard Sumra on Friday ignored an election rule on conduct in polling stations after arriving clad in outfits that closely resembled their respective official party colors.

Mawathe donned a light blue stripped shirt while casting his ballot at Imara Daima polling centre. The shirt resembled the official colours of his party, Wiper Democratic Party.

Sumra cast his ballot at Mukuru Community Centre while wearing an orange jacket and an orange cowboy hat. His party Orange Democratic Movement uses orange in all its campaign materials.

The Elections Act states that “No person shall be admitted into a polling station if that person is wearing a badge or has any dressing, signifying symbols or other indication of support for any political party, a candidate in the election or a referendum committee.”

In its civic education campaigns during elections, the Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission (IEBC) usually advises voters to avoid wearing clothes that have colors used to symbolize parties.

IEBC also warns voters to avoid clothes that bear party symbols or colors associated with the different parties on Election Day.

The presiding officer is charged with the responsibility of regulating the admission of party agents and observers. It is unclear in the Act if the officer is the one to deny admission to a voter dressed in party colors.