News / Africa

Kenyans Wait Anxiously for Vote Count

Kenyans Wait Anxiously for Vote Counti
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March 07, 2013 12:51 AM
Technical problems have forced Kenyan election officials to ditch an electronic system and to undertake a slower count of ballots. And as VOA East Africa correspondent Gabe Joselow reports, the delays and other problems with tabulating the vote have sparked anxieties in Kenya.
Kenyans Wait Anxiously for Vote Count
Gabe Joselow
Technical problems have forced Kenyan election officials to ditch an electronic system and to undertake a slower count of ballots. And the delays and other problems with tabulating the vote have sparked anxieties in Kenya.
 
Kenyan officials, in a painstaking and slow process, are reading out the tally, piecemeal, from the country’s presidential election held on Monday.
 
A problem with a mobile phone-based communications system has forced officials to add up the vote on paper, leaving Kenyans waiting for the results for days.
 
Here in Kisumu, in western Kenya, patience is beginning to run out.
 
John Ochieng, a teacher, is fed up with the delays. “They’ve really disappointed Kenyans so much, at times we find that transmitting the results is very slow, now we are returning where we came from, which is the manual," he said. 

  • 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)

The presidential race pits Prime Minister Raila Odinga against Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, son of Kenya's first president.  He's been accused of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court for his alleged involvement in violence after the last elections. 
 
The two candidates were virtually tied in polls released before the election and both have predicted victory in the first round.
 
Issack Hassan chairs Kenya's electoral commission.  He has urged all parties to be patient.
 
"The commission wishes to assure the parties, the candidates, in particular the presidential candidates and their agents, especially the chief agents and their supporters, that the commission will provide regular and timely announcement of results as and when they are received from the other remaining constituencies," he said. 
 
Political parties have raised concerns about the delays and other irregularities in the election process.  Much of the controversy centers around how to resolve hundreds of thousands of rejected ballots.
 
Related - Voting Monitors Say Kenya Showed Maturity in Balloting

Independent analyst Abdullahi Boru says this damages confidence in the vote.
 
“I mean the slow process in which the results are trickling in has two implications.  One, it will make people start feeling anxious and that builds up tension.  And the second thing is, well, why is the system not as efficient as we were promised and then people will start questioning the integrity or the legitimacy of the process," he said. 
 
The electoral commission says it expects to announce official results as soon as Friday morning.
 
But officials are reminding voters that legally they have until Monday. 

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: NVO from: USA
March 06, 2013 10:32 PM
Another, yes another so-called "vote" that will me marred by, you guessed it..................FRAUD.
In Response

by: Paris Tun from: Myanmar
March 07, 2013 10:15 AM
Kenya should grow up by now, for the sake of innocent women and children who are longing for peace and prosperity.Powerful people in Kenya should have a " heart" to learn from the past and hold the election in a fair manner. Because of vote fraud, precious human lives were lost, during the last election. It is a common sense to hold an election in a free and fair manner, right? How do we "still" lack that common sense and create frustration and outrages?Stop saying about "big things" and start doing common sense or basis thing! That's the message, I want to give to every politicians.

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