17 January 2013

Kenya: Fury As TNA Primaries Put Off

Nairobi — Tempers flared at a polling station in Dagoretti North constituency when voters allied to The National Alliance (TNA) were asked to leave, because the centre had not received ballot materials.

The disappointed voters demanded to know why their counterparts in the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) were continuing with the nominations at the same venue yet theirs had stalled.

Interestingly, the two rival parties had to share the Kawangware Primary School for the nomination exercise with the ODM assigned to the left side of the school and the TNA to the far right.

"We came here at 5am because of TNA and the ballot boxes were late but we waited. It is like we do not have a right yet we are all equal," said James Kariuki.

Attempts by the TNA voters to demonstrate and disrupt the ODM nominations were blocked by the police but the men and women continued chanting and screaming out their frustrations.

They wanted to know why TNA ballot boxes had been stationed at the polling centre without ballot papers and a voters' register.

"We are all here and they should have done what was required so that we go back home and at least drink some tea because we have been here since morning," said an elderly woman, who declined to be named.

Although TNA officials tried to explain the situation telling them not to despair, some of those who spoke to Capital FM News said they would not take time again to participate in the exercise.

Many parties blamed the delays on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission saying it did not release the voters' register on time. However the electoral body denied the allegations saying it's the business of each parties to collect the register at the own will.

"I had to ask my employer to give me a day off so that I could sort this thing out but I have just wasted my day and I cannot go back and ask for another day. How will I get my children's daily bread?" wondered Peter Ireri.

Hundreds of youths also stood in groups outside the polling centre complaining about the delays.

Dagoretti North aspiring MP John Kiarie also sent a statement to newsrooms saying two people had been arrested, in Nairobi's Kijabe Street, allegedly trying to sell ballot papers.

Kiarie, who cast his vote at the Kawangware Primary School, added that the two were taken to the Central Police Station for further questioning.

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