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

Video Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa 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.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid