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, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs