News / Africa

Delays, Disorder Plague Kenyan Primaries

A Kenyan casts his ballot in Nairobi during the primary nominations ahead of this year general election to be held in March, January 17, 2013.
A Kenyan casts his ballot in Nairobi during the primary nominations ahead of this year general election to be held in March, January 17, 2013.
Gabe Joselow
Long lines and missing ballot papers caused mass frustration Thursday across Kenya during national primaries to elect local candidates for the March general elections. Observers are watching the primaries for a sign of things to come during the national vote.

Tired and frustrated, hundreds of would-be voters waited at the Anglican Church in Nairobi's Kibera neighborhood for a chance to select their candidates for The National Alliance [TNA] party.

Polling was supposed to begin at six in the morning, but the ballots did not arrive until the afternoon.

Frustrated voters

Kibera resident Zam Obed said tension is growing as voters become more impatient.

“So far I don't find it's very good, you know Kibera is a hotspot in Kenya, and for this nomination to take this long, and it is not good," said Obed. "They should have said morning and it started in morning. So how long are they going to have it?”

Similar problems were reported across the country, and TNA announced it would have to extend the voting exercise by another day, blaming the country's electoral commission [IEBC] for not providing the voter register list on time.

Some are starting to suspect, though, that the delays and the missing ballot papers could be intentional. The head of a Kibera youth organization, Livingston Okwete Hawama, said people are concerned the vote already has been rigged.

“Now there are rumors going around that somebody has been given already the certificates, now we don't know what's going to happen next,” said Hawama.

Logistics issues

Problems with polling were not limited to TNA, another leading party, the Orange Democratic Movement [ODM] also had trouble providing ballot papers and opening polls on time.

This year's primaries are different from past voting exercises in Kenya, in that voters are, for the first time, selecting candidates for political positions created by the new constitution - including governor, senator and women's representative.

Presidential candidates have been chosen separately by parties, and will run in the March 4 general elections.

The TNA candidate is Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's first president and an International Criminal Court indictee. ODM is led by Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who contested and lost the last presidential election in 2007.

Peter Alingo, Director of the Institute for Education in Democracy in Nairobi is monitoring the primaries as part of Kenya's Electoral Observation Group. He said the disorganization has shown political parties are unprepared.

“Our concerns, which we have raised with a number of them, and which we continue to observe is the level of preparedness which they've had for this exercise and that is where our disappointment comes in,” he said.

Eye on general elections

Alingo said any concerns that the process has been corrupted also could have repercussions for the general election.

“We would like to see an open, transparent and accountable process, because if we have any lesser process then we stand the risk of jeopardizing the integrity of the 4th March elections itself,” he said.

While somewhat chaotic and tense, Thursday's primary process has been mostly peaceful. Observers also are watching for early signs of violence in order to avoid a repeat of the post-election violence that followed the last general election in 2007, in which more than 1,000 people were killed.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid