News / Africa

Kenya Educates Politicians on Election Procedures

A political candidate discusses elections procedures with IEBC representatives in Mombasa, Kenya, Feb. 18, 2013. (Jill Craig/VOA)
A political candidate discusses elections procedures with IEBC representatives in Mombasa, Kenya, Feb. 18, 2013. (Jill Craig/VOA)
Jill Craig
The Kenyan election season is well under way, and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is trying to educate the electorate on polling procedures and the steps the commission is taking to eliminate fraud. Part of this work includes educating the political candidates themselves.

Politicians assembled in a crowded meeting room in Mombasa recently to discuss issues pertaining to the upcoming March 4 Kenyan elections. They have a particular stake in ensuring that the elections are free and fair, and they were not shy in expressing their grievances with Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission representative Frank Mwalenga.

Mwalenga says that the IEBC is holding these politician education sessions throughout Kenya because the candidates need to know that no fraudulent activity will be permitted.

“It’s important that we all read from the same page because we are aware that the last elections had a lot of issues," he said. "But right now, we want the candidates to be fully aware of the laws, which are, let’s say for example, there is a code of conduct governing their conduct in campaigns. They are supposed to keep this and all those manners of issues.”

Management consultant Rashid Nzambu is currently working with a political aspirant from Mvita constituency. He attended the IEBC session and says he found it very useful.

“It allowed many of the candidates to verify some of the facts about the electoral process, i.e. what’s going to happen on the polling day. There were so many things which were not clear. Although most of us had already come to the IEBC office and things had been clarified for us. But it was good that all the candidates could sit together and be able to ask questions and get answers,” said Nzambu.

Kenyan elections posters discussed during an IEBC politician education forum in Mombasa, Kenya, Feb. 18, 2013.Kenyan elections posters discussed during an IEBC politician education forum in Mombasa, Kenya, Feb. 18, 2013." (Jill Craig/VOA)
x
Kenyan elections posters discussed during an IEBC politician education forum in Mombasa, Kenya, Feb. 18, 2013.
Kenyan elections posters discussed during an IEBC politician education forum in Mombasa, Kenya, Feb. 18, 2013." (Jill Craig/VOA)
Fear factor

Nzambu says that many of the candidates at the IEBC session were concerned about technical and procedural problems on election day.

“People are fearful about the machines, whether there is going to be power on that day," he said. "Whether they are going to be able to allow enough people to vote in the given time, that is, before five o’clock, five p.m. And the returning office here said everybody who will be at the polling station will be allowed to vote, even if it will take how long.”

However, although there are worries about logistics, Mary Oyiar, a candidate running for Mombasa county representative, says the overriding fear is electoral fraud.

“Bribery is the most common thing in Mombasa. You see there are candidates who are wealthy - wealthy, wealthy candidates," said Oyiar. "They normally go to a polling station, stand by, and attend to whoever is coming. They give them a photo or whatever, and [tell them] please go and vote for this person with maybe two or five hundred shillings [about $2.30 or $5.80] a turn. So they change the voter’s mind on the spot.”

Janet Mirobi is another contender vying for the Mombasa county representative seat. She agrees with Oyiar that money is often exchanged for votes and says this puts under-resourced candidates like herself at a clear disadvantage. 

“The big worries are that the people who have big money, they are buying even the people there," said Mirobi. "Even the policemen - you can report and they don’t respond to you because you don’t have money to give them. They have been given money. That’s why you see we are complaining. What are we going to do because of these big fish who have money? Because most of the candidates here, we don’t have money. The big people who’ve been there, they’re having money.”

Commission's dedication

Acknowledging that these issues have been a problem in the past, Mwalenga of the IEBC says that the commission is dedicated to transparent elections this time around.

“I’m very serious about the issues and right now, the law empowers us as elections officials to follow up these issues because we want all the candidates to see us as being fair," said Mwalenga. "So we don’t want any candidate to be beaten up, to be discriminated against just because maybe he doesn’t have enough resources. So in this, we are going to make sure that whoever breaches the law, the law should take course.”

According to the IEBC, Mombasa county has registered 432,000 voters for the upcoming election, which is 94 percent of the commission’s target.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer 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.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs