18 January 2013

Kenya: Disarray As TNA Conducts Nominations

Nairobi — Chaos and long queues characterised Friday's nominations at Kawangware Primary School as voters' allied to The National Alliance (TNA) turned out to cast their votes in the delayed primaries.

Angry voters who spoke to Capital FM News complained of superfluous queues saying TNA should have made better arrangements for the exercise.

One of the agents, Patrick Kariuki explained that there was only one classroom, with five ballot boxes and four clerks, serving more than 10,000 voters.

"How can more than 10,000 people vote in one classroom before 12 noon? How will the general election be if this is the manner in which our beloved party is conducting the nomination?" he asked.

Clerks at the school had a hard time serving all the voters, who included those who were to cast their ballots at the Precious Blood Riruta Secondary School and the Deliverance Church with rowdy youths venting their frustrations outside the centre.

One of the clerks, Hassan Wanjala, however maintained that it was not possible to increase the number of classrooms.

"As of now we only have five ballot boxes and we cannot get another room. Getting another room would mean having to create some other five ballot boxes," he explained.

"Additional to that, the clerks are four with one presiding officer so it is impossible," he stressed.

The voters would hear none of it as they continued complaining about the process saying they would only leave the premise after they cast their vote.

Voters also feared getting out of the snaking line to give us interviews because they thought they would have to go to the rear.

"I have to vote today because I had to lie to my boss yesterday and I lied to him again today so I cannot have wasted my two days doing nothing yet I will have to pay for them," Peter Ng'ethe lamented.

"They should have given us two classrooms because we came here yesterday and bounced. We will not go home without voting," Stanley Njung'e vowed.

A police officer who had been posted to the station together with four colleagues had a hard time controlling the crowds that had also gathered outside the school's gate.

Every time he turned his attention to something else, those in the queues got unruly.

"In the morning things were a bit organised but they have become chaotic and I have to make sure that they remain in the line. The good thing is things are peaceful," said Inspector David Lang'at.

Hawkers used the opportunity to sell snacks as some of the voters rested under the trees to shelter themselves from the scorching sun.

Old women were also not spared the agony and they tried their best to get into the classroom to cast their ballots.

Some used their age as a bargaining chip while others cited various ailments to convince the police officers into allowing them to jump the queue.

"We are really tired and those of us who are old are really suffering. Thank God we have a separate queue that is shorter because I don't think we would have made it," one of them said.

Agents also had a difficult time convincing some of the disappointed voters from leaving, even as a dog 'branded' TNA did its rounds following its master.

The clerks at the polling station later got another room together with five extra ballot boxes to ease the mounting tension but the last ditch remedy did little to quell fears that the process was fundamentally flawed and open to abuse as fears of rigging crept in.

Copyright © 2013 Capital FM. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.