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

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.