21 April 2017

Kenya: Delays As Jubilee Party Holds Primaries in 21 Counties

Photo: Jeff Angote/The Nation
Deputy President William Ruto (left) and President Uhuru Kenyatta at the launch of Jubilee Party at Safaricom Stadium Kasarani in Nairobi on September 10, 2016.

Voting has been delayed for hours in most polling centres as Jubilee Party primaries kick off in 21 counties Friday morning.

In Meru, a spot check by the Nation at Kinoru Primary School, Meru Primary School, Makutano, Mohame Moti, KCB and Gakoromone, among other polling centres, established that voters were still waiting for officials, clerks, police and electoral materials at 7am.

Voters who spoke to the Nation said they had arrived at the polling centres as early as 5am in order to vote and then go on with their daily chores.

"This will affect the turnout of voters because this is a market day. Most of us are businesspeople at Gakoromone market and we wanted to vote early and proceed to business," said Mr Elijah Mukaria.

Ballot boxes for the nominations started arriving at the county police headquarters on Thursday at 6pm.

Elections board officials were running against time to ensure all plans were in place for the Friday nominations.

Jubilee regional coordinator Mutuma Nkanata Thursday said they were committed to a free and fair nominations.

"We have contracted enough police officers to ensure the electoral materials are secured and are not tampered with. It is not too late to receive the ballot boxes because all parts of Meru are accessible. All materials will be at the polling centres in the morning," Mr Nkanata said.

Pastor Francis Gitonga from Igembe South told the Nation that election materials were yet to arrive in polling stations around Maua Town by 7am.

"People are still waiting to vote. Others have decided to leave because of the delays. If there is such a delay within town, it means the interior stations will be worst hit," Pastor Gitonga said.

Election officials could not be reached for comment over the delay.

KIAMBU

In Kiambu County, voting did not start at 6am as was expected.

Voters who arrived early camped at various polling stations for hours.

In Kikuyu Constituency, the vehicle transporting voting materials arrived at the Ndurarua Primary School at 7.30am.

There was heavy security comprising mainly Administration Police officers.

Current Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung'wah is fighting to retain the seat on a Jubilee ticket.

TAITA TAVETA

In Taita Taveta County, voting in the Jubilee nominations also failed to kick off on time at various polling centers in Voi due to delays in delivery of poll materials.

Voters were stranded outside polling centers waiting for the process to start.

Taveta MP Naomi Shaban will face Mike Banton in a bid to retain her seat in August.

In the Mt Kenya region Jubilee nominations in most parts did not start on time despite voters arriving early but finding polling stations not yet open.

Some presiding officers do not have transport means with some claiming they had not been allocated security.

Aspirants said they feared the late start could affect turnout.

UASIN GISHU

Tension was high in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, after claims that the ballot papers supplied were not enough.

Voters refused to cast ballots insisting that enough ballot papers be supplied.

THARAKA-NITHI

Voters, most of them matatu and boda boda operators who had arrived early walked out of Chuka Township Primary School in Tharaka-Nithi after waiting for voting to start in vain.

They vowed not to return saying they were already late to go to work.

NAROK

In Narok, Jubilee election officials had to burn the midnight oil to distribute election materials as early as 11pm on Thursday in an exercise that took more than three hours.

The ballot boxes, gas lights, ballot papers stationaries and registers were handed over to party election officials from the six constituencies by the returning officer, Mr Nelson Mandela.

Speaking at the Narok High school, Mr Mandela said the polling materials were transported under tight security and were set to be distributed to polling centres before 5am Friday.

KAJIADO

In Kajiado County, nominations were thrown into confusion after a lorry that was supposed to take voting materials to Kajiado was detained at Ololaiser High School in Kajiado North constituency.

It is alleged that a politician from Kajiado West and his supporters were caught trying to mark ballot papers.A confrontation ensued and shots were fired in the air. The politician is said to have escaped in a motorbike. The supporters were however detained at the venue. It is not clear how the lorry, supposed to transport voting materials to Kajiado town ended up in Kajiado North, the other side of town.Politicians contesting various seats in Kajiado were alerted and starting arriving at the venue. They include Kajiado North MP, Joseph Manji, Kajiado Senator Peter Mositet, governor aspirant Taraiya Ole Kores, Kajiado North aspirant Parsimei Gitau, among others.As a result voters across the expansive county are stranded in the various polling centres awaiting ballot materials.

Reporting by: David Muchui, Isabel Githae, Agnes Aboo, George Sayagie, Faith Nyamai, Lucy Mkanyika, Alex Njeru, Joseph Ngunjiri

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