News / Africa

Kenyans Face Long Voting Lines

Masaai line up to vote in a general election outside an elementary school in Kumpa, Kenya, March 4, 2013.
Masaai line up to vote in a general election outside an elementary school in Kumpa, Kenya, March 4, 2013.
Andrew Green
Kenyans are standing in long lines to elect the country’s fourth president since independence. Voting has been mostly peaceful, so far, although there are reports of violence in the country’s coastal region.

Voters were patiently waiting in blocks-long lines for the polls to open this morning in Kibera, a Nairobi slum. They are among the more than 14 million people registered to vote in today’s national and local elections.

Bernard Onyango was at the front of the line at his polling station. He arrived at midnight so he could be one of the first to vote.

“We just wait patiently, because we don’t have another day," he said. "This is the only day.”

  • Some voters began lining up Sunday night at the Olympic primary school polling station in Kibera, Kenya, March 4, 2013. (R. Gogineni/VOA)
  • Thousands waited in the dark outside the Olympic primary school for the polls to open at 6 am Monday morning, March 4, 2013. (R. Gogineni/VOA)
  • Voters wait in line at the Kibera primary school where presidential candidate Raila Odinga voted, March 4, 2013. (R. Gogineni/VOA)
  • After waiting in line for more than six hours, voters complained about delays in opening the polls to an IEBC official at the Kibera Primary School, March 4, 2013. (R. Gogineni/VOA)
  • Election observers from all of Kenya's political parties lined the walls of each classroom, March 4, 2013. (R Gogineni/VOA)
  • An IEBC official inks a voter's finger after he cast his ballot, March 4, 2013. (R. Gogineni/ VOA)
  • Press surround candidate Raila Odinga as he voted at the Kibera Primary School, March 4, 2013. (R. Gogineni/VOA)
Voters will decide a hotly contested presidential contest. Surveys showed Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta locked in a tight race, ahead of six other candidates.

In the run-up to the election, candidates and public officials had called on Kenyans to maintain peace regardless of the outcome. But there are already reports of scattered violence. More than a dozen people - including several police officers - were killed in an early morning attack in a Kenyan coast town.

Related - Kenyans Vote Amid Threats of Violence

More than 1,000 people died in post-election violence following Kenya’s last presidential election, in 2007.

At Kibera Primary School, where Odinga voted, the atmosphere was calm. After casting his ballot, Odinga predicted he would win.

“Never before have Kenyans turned up in such large numbers to exercise their democratic right… They’re going to vote for change in these elections,” he said.

Odinga told the crowd this morning that if he does lose, he is willing to concede.

  • Lines form down the road to Mutomo Primary School as voters exercise patience during the Kenyan general elections of March 4, 2013. (J. Craig/VOA)
  • People reported standing in line for several hours before casting their vote in Kenya’s general elections in Gatundu, Kenya, March 4, 2013.” (J. Craigs/VOA)
  • Some voters arrived before 6:30 am and did not cast their ballots until after 11 am at Mutomo Primary School in Gatundu, Kenya, March 4, 2013 elections. (J.Craig/VOA)
  • Jubilee presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta votes in his home constituency of Gatundu, Kenya, March 4, 2013. (J. Craig/VOA)
  • Election officials check voters’ cards at the Mutomo Primary School, where voting for the Gatundu constituency took place, March 4, 2013. (J. Craig/VOA)
  • The line grows longer outside the Mutomo Primary School as crowds prepare to cast their ballots, Gatundu, Kenya, March 4, 2013. (J. Craig/VOA)
  • A father carries his daughter as he waits his turn to vote at the Mutomo Primary School, March 4, 2013. (J. Craig/VOA)
  • An election officer marks the finger of a man who cast his vote, Gatundu, Kenya, March 4, 2013. (J. Craig/VOA)

After casting his ballot in Gatundu, Kenyatta told supporters not to be discouraged by reports of violence or faulty biometric voter registration kits. The kits use fingerprints and facial features to identify voters. They are being used for the first time in Kenya for this election.

Asia Suleiman, an observer with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, says the kits are slowing the voting process.

“Even the time we are taking to vote, it’s a bit longer. It’s not easier. But the good thing is that I think there is a bit of credibility in it,” said Suleiman.

Voting is set to close at five this evening, but the election commission promised it would be extended as needed to accommodate everyone who was in line to vote by that time .

If no candidate emerges with a majority, the top two finishers will compete in a run-off in April.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: NVO from: USA
March 04, 2013 10:07 AM
Long lines for another FRAUDULENT so-called, "vote".

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid