News / Africa

US Election to Inspire Better Organized Kenya Vote, Says Official

Voters read the a sample ballot as they wait in line to cast their vote in Hialeah, Florida, November 6, 2012.Voters read the a sample ballot as they wait in line to cast their vote in Hialeah, Florida, November 6, 2012.
x
Voters read the a sample ballot as they wait in line to cast their vote in Hialeah, Florida, November 6, 2012.
Voters read the a sample ballot as they wait in line to cast their vote in Hialeah, Florida, November 6, 2012.
Peter Clottey
An official of Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) says lessons learned from the U.S. election will help improve preparations for Kenya’s general election scheduled for March 4 of next year.

IEBC Commissioner Ambassador Yusuf Nzibo monitored the vote Tuesday in the U.S. states of Virginia and Maryland as well as the District of Columbia.

Ambassador Nzibo described the voting during an interview with VOA after monitoring the polling places.

“What we’ve noticed is that in D.C., people come and say who they are and they are allowed to get a ballot. You have a choice of either electronic or manual voting,” said Nzibo.

“Here in Fairfax County, Virginia, the cue was very long and they are using only one hall for voting,” Nzibo said. “Whereas in my country, we would have streamed people in different classrooms, with an average of between 350 and 400 people so that the cues can move fast.”

He says there is need for Kenyans to develop the culture of tolerance and peaceful co-existence in all election activities in the run up to next year’s vote.

Nzibo said lessons learned from monitoring the U.S. election would help the IEBC improve its preparations for next year’s vote.

“The issue is the question of the laws,” he said. “For example, I have seen a lady who is disabled, she was in the car; she was unable to come to the voting room so the ballot was taken to her to vote by the officer. That would not have happened in Kenya. We would have had to carry the lady to the polling booth for her to vote.”

“People are very calm and it’s like a Sunday, they are out talking to each other. There is no tension and I have not seen a police car or policemen around the school and it is peaceful. I think that is one thing we can pick that elections are not matters of life and death.”

Nzibo said Kenya also can save money on elections by learning from the U.S. electoral system, which he said, enables volunteers to work as election officials during polls.

“What impressed me is that at home, we spend a lot of money recruiting poll officials, [but] here is much more of people volunteering as a community responsibility to be allowed to come and conduct the election,” he said.

“You don’t see people standing outside asking for bribes. I mean it is unheard of here, people cuing outside in order to be bribed to vote," he added.

Some Kenyans expressed worries that the IEBC has been unable to educate enough citizens to ensure there is no repeat of the 2007-2008 post-election violence. An estimated 1,133 people were killed in the violence and more than 663,000 displaced following those elections.

“I think it’s just developing a culture of democracy where people accept that elections are an everyday affair ad that it has to be conducted peacefully that people have to self-regulate themselves and that party campaigning cannot be nasty to the point where it would cause deaths,” said Nzibo.

“We need to develop this culture of tolerance, culture of peaceful elections and campaigning peacefully and electing our leaders in an orderly manner.”

Nzibo expressed concerns about distrust in electoral systems in Africa, which he said, creates tension and divisions.

“There is so much mistrust in our system, across the continent, that we spend so much money on security issues, spend so much money on security features on the ballot papers,” Nzibo said.

Clottey interview with Ambassador Yusuf Nzibo, Kenya electoral officer
Clottey interview with Ambassador Yusuf Nzibo, Kenya electoral officeri
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Video Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions 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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
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 Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
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 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 Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs