Many voters were on queues at
polling stations as early as 02.00 a.m.
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenyans in the capital of Nairobi woke up early
Tuesday, braving the morning chill to cast their ballots in an
election that is too close to call.
Most voters were on queues at polling stations as early as
02.OO am hoping to elect their leaders and go back to their
places of work.
At Komarock Primary School polling center, on the east of
Nairobi, voters said they started to queue at 3 am, with voting
kicking off at 6 am as scheduled.
"I am happy with the process as it is smooth.
"Once you reach the polling center, you are guided to stand
in a queue depending on your name, which was a good thing.
"My voters’ card and identity cards were then checked if they
were genuine, then I placed my index finger at the
identification machine and my name popped up," recounted Antony
Kimenchu, a voter.
He was then handed all the six ballot papers for the
candidates vying for various seats and proceeded to the polling
booth to vote.
"The process took me about three minutes perhaps because I
was among the first people but I know it can even be faster so
that more people vote before the 5 pm deadline lapses," he said.
The electoral body was forced to replace a clerk who stamped
ballot papers as rejected, and presiding officers in three
poling stations in Nairobi over delays.
A photo of a ballot paper stamped "IEBC rejected" has been
circulating on social media, prompting the electoral agency to
address the matter.
Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) Chairman
Wafula Chebukati said Tuesday that agents who caused delays in
Nairobi were replaced for a smooth process.
Chebukati said they have extended the time for those areas
and others where polling stations opened late.
"We have had no major hitches ... apart from a few issues
affecting polling stations.
"We have experienced delays in these areas and consequently
changed the agents," he told a media briefing in Nairobi.
He further said they sent their teams to places where they
are experiencing technical hitches.
"Our officers have been deployed to resolve technical issues
in Wajir, Isiolo and Dadaab (in northeast region).
"Our team is on the ground...we have been informed that
voting is going on smoothly," Chebukati said.
He asked Kenyans to exercise calm and patience as they work
towards free, fair and credible elections.
"We thank Kenyans for making the work of agents easy.
"We are very encouraged by voter turnout."
Chebukati said they will keep the promise of a credible
election and urged those who have not cast their ballots to do
At Kayole Primary School, another polling station on the east
of Nairobi, the queues of voters were similarly long. While the
process was smooth, voters complained it was slow.
"The clerks are too slow I wonder if all these people would
vote by the time the stations close.
"They must increase their pace," said a voter identified as
Most of the voters said they expected a free and fair
election that is not marred with any intimidation or violence.
However, at Donholm Primary School, voting was delayed for
close to two hours as officials blamed the hitch on lack of
election kits and booths.
Hundreds of voters who had camped at the polling stations as
early as 3 am got agitated at one point leading to violent
"It is now about 09.00 a.m. and we are yet to start voting.
"No one is giving us a proper explanation yet the exercise
was supposed to start at 06.00 a.m.," said Caroline Otiato, a
voter at the station.
There was a stampede at the station as police fired teargas
in the air to disperse the voters who had become rowdy.
At least five people were injured, one seriously following
the commotion at the polling station that has 25 voting centers.
Brian Bosire, a voter at the station said the problem started
when the gate remained closed at the time voting was supposed to
"The gate was broken by irate voters who were agitated
because they were getting no explanation from electoral
commission officials," he said.
The election pits President Uhuru Kenyatta and his long-time
rival Raila Odinga, both who have exuded confidence of winning.
While Kenyatta is hoping to be re-elected based on his
achievements, Odinga hinges his hopes on promises he has given,
including free education from kindergarten to secondary school.
Kenyans in Uganda vote in
country’s presidential polls
KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) --
Kenyans living in Uganda on
Tuesday joined other diaspora community to cast their ballots
for Kenyan’s presidential elections.
Hundreds queued at their embassy here to cast their votes.
William Kahindi, the Deputy Returning Officer of Kenya
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for the
Diaspora, told Xinhua that at least 1,184 registered Kenyan
voters are expected to cast their votes.
"We started on time.
"The exercise is going on well and peaceful," said Kahindi.
Isaiah Kojwang, chairman of Association of Kenyans in Uganda
urged Kenyans to remain peaceful after the elections.
"We are Kenyans.
"We need to remain united.
"We should respect the decision of Kenyans," said Kojwang.
"It’s a tight race.
"It’s hard to tell who the winner will be.
"All I wish is a peaceful ending to this elections and the
winner uniting Kenyans as one," said Joshua Moturi after casting
Some 250,000 Kenyans in various countries are expected to
vote in the Tuesday elections, according to IEBC.
The main race is tightly contested between the incumbent
President Uhuru Kenyatta of the ruling Jubilee party and Raila
Odinga of opposition coalition candidate, National Super
Kenyans in Rwanda voting
for president smoothly
KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) --
Kenyan nationals residing in Rwanda on Tuesday
participated in general elections by casting their votes at the
diplomatic mission in the capital city Kigali.
The elections in Kenya are for the President, county
governor, senator, Member of Parliament, woman representative
and member of county assembly.
The voters began arriving at the Kenyan High Commission in
Kacyiru sector, Gasabo district as early as 6 a.m. where a
polling station had been established. By 11 am, at least 100
people had cast their votes.
Speaking to Xinhua, Catherine Koskey, the presiding officer
for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC)
at the embassy said that there have been no incidents and voters
woke up as early as 6 a.m. to exercise their rights.
"We started at 6 a.m. and are hoping to close at 5 p.m. We
are encouraging Kenyans living in Rwanda who are registered
voters to hurry and vote before deadline," she said.
According to Koskey, about 850 Kenyans in Rwanda registered
to vote at the Kenya High Commission in Kigali.
The main presidential contest is between incumbent president
Uhuru Kenyatta, the flag bearer of Jubilee coalition and former
Prime Minister Raila Odinga, leader of the National Super
Also on the list of candidates are six other independent
"I’m glad that Kenyans have turned up to vote and no
incidents and violence.
"I believe things will get better after this election. I pray
for peaceful elections," said Eugene Anangwe, a Kenyan
journalist living in Rwanda.
Ghana says has no interest
in who wins Kenyan elections
ACCRA (Xinhua) --
The Ghanaian government on
Tuesday said it has no interest in who emerges victorious in the
Kenyan presidential election.
In a statement signed by Mustapha Hamid, Minister for
Information, the government said "who wins the presidential
elections is the preserve of Kenyan voters."
The reaction came three days after Peter Mac Manu, a senior
official of Ghana’s governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), was
deported from Kenya after leading a team of the Democratic Union
of Africa to observe the election in that country.
"We wish to make it clear that the government of Ghana has no
interest whatsoever in who emerges winner in Tuesday’s poll,"
the statement said.
It said Ghana was praying for a successful and credible
election and hoped that the winning candidate at the end of the
process would receive the unalloyed support of all.
"That is how Kenya can strengthen her democracy and the peace
and stability of the nation," the statement added.
According to the statement, Ghana enjoys strong diplomatic
relations with Kenya and would continuously work to deepen that,
as well as explore other areas of cooperation between the two
countries to the mutual benefit of the two peoples, irrespective
of the government at the helm of affairs.
Ghana to probe election
observation official’s refused entry into Kenya
ACCRA (Xinhua) --
Ghana’s governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) said
on Monday it would investigate the circumstances surrounding
Kenya’s decision to refuse entry for Peter Mac Manu, a senior
party official, who was billed to observe the upcoming general
election in the East African country.
Mac Manu, the NPP’s campaign manager in the 2016 elections,
was leading a delegation of the Democratic Union of Africa to
observe next Tuesday’s elections in Kenya but was refused entry
by authorities over the weekend.
The deportation followed reports alleging that the NPP was
supporting the opposition leader, Raila Odinga, to create a
parallel election tally result platform, just like it did in
Ghana’s elections last year.
But senior officials of Ghana’s ruling party have condemned
the deportation of its guru.
John Boadu, acting General Secretary, said the NPP took a
strong view on the incident and would launch investigations into
it and take a decision.
"Mac Manu is a member of the Democratic Union of Africa,
which is a sub-body of the bigger body of the International
"It is rather unfortunate that the Kenya authorities will
behave like that.
"I don’t know what the motive was.
"Whatever it was, it was wrong," he said.
The deputy General Secretary of the NPP, Nana Obiri Boahen,
described the allegations against Mac Manu as false.
"They said they will not allow Peter Mac Manu to go there and
it is a serious indication that things are not going on well.
"How do you accuse the NPP in Ghana that they want to rig the
"This primitive way of handling matters ongoing in Kenya; we
need to be serious about it," he told local media.
Kenyans will vote on August 8 to choose among candidates for
the presidency, National Assembly, Senate, and County Governors
and County Assemblies.
UN experts urge Kenyans to
avoid repeat of violence as voting opens
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Three UN human rights experts have called on
Kenyans to maintain the highest standards of behavior before,
during and after Tuesday’s general elections to avoid a repeat
of the violence that took place in 2007.
Special Rapporteurs on freedom of peaceful assembly and of
association, Annalisa Ciampi, on the situation of human rights
defenders, Michel Forst, and on summary executions, Agnes
Callamard said the East Africa nation has taken important steps
towards peacefully resolving tensions in the context of
"We call on the Kenyan authorities to do their utmost to
ensure peaceful elections as well as a free and fair voting
process tomorrow (Tuesday)," the experts said in a joint
statement released on Monday night.
"Respect for people’s fundamental rights and
freedoms—including the right to vote, freedom of expression,
association and assembly are the key to free and fair elections
and public participation," they noted.
The experts said Kenya had made significant progress since
2007 when the country plunged into chaos over disputed election
results, in strengthening democracy, human rights and the rule
"However, in the light of recent incidents of political
violence, the rise of hate speech and prevailing tensions, we
emphasize the importance of all those involved in the process to
commit themselves to peaceful conduct during and after
elections," they said.
"We also call on their supporters to remain peaceful and
refrain from any incitement to violence," added the experts.
The Special Rapporteurs welcomed the government’s commitment
not to shut down the internet, urging the authorities to ensure
that media and civil society could report on and scrutinize the
They also highlighted the responsibility of security forces
to facilitate the holding of peaceful demonstrations, and to
hold constructive dialogue with protesters in an effort to
defuse any tensions.
"If any of the protests turn violent, the principles of
precaution, legality, necessity and proportionality must be
observed at all times," they said.
"These tenets are the cornerstone of peaceful elections, and
are key to maintaining an environment conducive to political
dialogue, as well as the safety of people who have gathered to
express their views in a peaceful manner," the experts added.
United Nations (UN)
Secretary-General calls for peaceful elections in Kenya
UNITED NATIONS (Xinhua) --
United Nations (UN) Secretary-General
Antonio Guterres on Monday called for credible and peaceful
elections in Kenya, asking stakeholders to trust electoral
"As the people of Kenya prepare to participate in the general
elections on Aug. 8, 2017, the secretary-general calls on all
national stakeholders to renew their commitment to credible and
peaceful elections, as well as their confidence in the
institutions constitutionally mandated to conduct the
elections," said the secretary-general through his spokesman
"The secretary-general underlines the importance of respect
for human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as
professional and impartial conduct of law enforcement officials
during the elections," said Dujarric in a statement.
He said Guterres has been closely following the developments
in Kenya’s electoral process and has kept regular contact with
relevant political leaders and other key stakeholders.
Some 20 million Kenyan voters go to the polls on Tuesday for
general elections, which were overshadowed by the murder of a
top election official and claims of plans to rig the vote.
After a disputed election in 2007, violence left at least
1,300 people dead and 600,000 others displaced in the African