Uhuru opens early lead in race for Kenya presidency
Posted Tuesday, March 5 2013 at 02:00
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission admits the technical hitch as it assures the public that the printed versions of the poll books were safe and secure enough.
A technical hitch involving voter identification kits yesterday delayed voting in various polling stations across the country, forcing the Electoral Commission to use manual registers of voters in the elections.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission admitted the technical hitch as it assured the public that the printed versions of the poll books were safe and secure enough to deliver an election which was fair and transparent.
In Nairobi, a number of polling stations were affected by the malfunction, prompting presiding officers to turn to the manual registers. At the Star of Hope Primary School in Makadara constituency, area IEBC Coordinator Florence Kwamboka said BVR machines at the station were of no help due to lack of power. “We had just two classes with electricity while the rest had none. My officers opted to use the manual registers,” she said.
Security agents had a hectic time controlling crowds who later forced their way into the compound to protest against delay in the process. At Nairobi’s Moi Avenue Primary School in Starehe, deputy presiding office Purity Gacheri said the officials spent the night at the station to ensure that nothing went wrong.
In Mombasa, the poll book failure affected voting at Majengo Mapya-Muzdalifa polling station with 4,662 registered voters in Likoni . After a length struggle, the presiding officer of Stream team managed to revive the kit for Stream 1 but her counterpart of Stream 2 Mohamed Said’s kit’s battery ‘exploded’ rendering it unfunctionable. “As you can see, we have to use the manual process until the IT technical team can make it possible to use this gadget,” he said, while urging his officials to quicken their pace to ‘quieten’ the already impatient voters.
In North Rift and Western Region, voters waited for hours following the poll book failure. In Baringo County, the worst hit polling stations include Kasoiyo and Municipal Council of Kabarnet and nearly all polling stations in Baringo North constituency.
Local leaders among them senatorial aspirant Gideon Moi who cast his vote at Tandui Day and Boarding Primary School called on IEBC to take heed of the technical challenges and address it immediately.
In Nandi, voting was suspended in more than 60 per cent of the polling stations the electronic system could not work and the IEBC Officials had to use manual type of system which was very slow.
Voting in parts of Teso North was delayed for about one hour after the kits failure, causing panic in selected polling stations forcing returning officer Shaolin Leriche to explain the mishap.
“The machines were not functional when we were opening voting and this caused delay in some areas of the constituency. However, we have called in our technicians who are working in resolving the issue,” he said.
In Bungoma County, senator aspirant Moses Wetang’ula urged IEBC to compensate voters for the lost two hours. “The IEBC should have tested the kits and ensure that they are functional before delivering them to the polling station,” said Joshua Too.
In Kisumu, a man broke into tears when poling clerks turned him away, saying the identifications kits showed he had registered in Meru County despite his voters card being indicated that he was a voter in Kisumu central. In several cases, the kits failed to recognise the finger prints of voters.
“This machine was meant to be 100 percent efficient how come it is not working”, posed a voter at Aga Khan Hall in Kisumu.
In Kakamega, voting in some polling was delayed for nearly an hour after the kits failure. Polling officials were forced to use the manual registers after efforts by IEBC technical staff to fix the problem failed.
The Regional Election Coordinator for Kakamega and Vihiga, Mr George Oyugi, said the problem could have been caused by the quality of the batteries which were supposed to last for three hours before running out of power.
“We made all the necessary preparations and have supplied backup equipment to ensure voting is not disrupted due to the problem caused by the batteries,” explained Mr Oyugi. In Gichugu Constituency in Kirinyaga county, the IEBC was using the manual register after the BVR machines failed to work.