17 January 2013

Kenya: Delays Blight Dagoretti Nominations

Nairobi — Delays in the delivery of ballot boxes and papers marred party primaries in both Dagoretti South and North constituencies with a large number of voters who had turned up to cast their ballots seen camping outside the various polling stations.

The situation in Kawangware Primary School, Lavington Primary School, Dagoretti Corner Primary and Precious Blood was the same as disgruntled voters complained about glitches.

Some of those who spoke to Capital FM News said they had been waiting from as early as 5am hoping to participate in the nominations before taking on their daily business activities.

"We have not had anything to eat since morning and our stomachs have been growling. We left our places of work and didn't even go home to come and vote as they had told us but we are still waiting," said Gideon Isakoi.

At Kawangware Primary School old men and women took refuge inside one of the classrooms that had been turned into a polling booth to shield themselves from light showers experienced in Nairobi.

They complained about the situation and no amount of explaining seemed to calm their anger.

"We have been queuing since morning and some of us are women who have homes to tend to. We do not even know anything. All they keep telling us is that the papers are not here but why did they open the doors if they were not ready?" asked Njeri Ndung'u.

Hezron Kamau, an aspirant seeking to be the Member of Parliament for Dagoretti North constituency also expressed his frustration at the process.

Even though police and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) barred voters from gathering outside polling stations waiting to cast their votes hundreds of youths defied the order.

Some of them appeared drunk and disorderly but the situation remained calm even in areas where CORD and Jubilee voters shared polling stations as security officers stood watch.

"We are brothers in the same football match so sharing is very good because we can see their strength and they can see ours. Even if there is another party it should come here," said Kamau, who is seeking a TNA ticket.

One of TNA's presiding officers Grace Githongori said that they had ballot boxes but were waiting for ballot papers and the voters' register.

"Some voters were here at 6am and some left to go to work but we are still waiting for the register and the ballot papers for Senate and Women Representatives," she said.

"They had said they will be here by 11am but it's already past and we are still waiting," she said.

Orange Democratic Movement Deputy Spokesperson Maseme Machuka had earlier refuted reports on the delays saying the voters must have gone to the wrong polling stations.

There were also reports that the delays in the delivery of ballot boxes and papers were deliberate because some parties allegedly wanted to handpick their candidates.

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