Poll preparation disrupted in parts on Nyanza

Election preparations were in full gear in most parts of Kenya with electoral commission officers verifying the poll materials and coordinating their distribution in polling stations.

In some parts of Nyanza, however, the preparations by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) were disrupted with, among other things, protests and .

BOYCOTT

Security was intensified in most areas in the region considered a National Super Alliance (Nasa) stronghold.

The Opposition Nasa has called for a on Thursday, and leaders have said there will be no election in the region.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Jubilee leaders have asked those who do not want to vote to let others exercise their constitutional rights to vote peacefully.

SIAYA

Siaya County Returning Officer Ruth Kulundu raised concern after presiding officers and their deputies failed to report for duty on Wednesday.

She also raised concern that they did not have vehicles to transport the materials to polling stations.

“We are waiting for further direction from the IEBC chairman [Wafula Chebukati] on whether we are able or unable to conduct the election in the area,” she said.

“The constant demonstrations and threats have hampered our operations by making the presiding officers (POs) and deputy presiding officers (DPOs) afraid.”

NYAMIRA

Returning officers in Nyamira County have expressed concern over security in some hotspots they have identified.

Borabu returning officer Thomas Ongeri said a senior politician was seen in the constituency asking voters to boycott the election.

“We have put everything in place to preside over the election. We are only waiting for ballot papers, which are on the way, to enable our presiding officers dispatch them to polling centres. The only challenge we are facing is the incitement by a local Nasa politician who is asking voters in Kiabonyoru Division not to participate in the election,” he said.

Ongeri said he had reported the politician’s activities to security agents for action.

KISUMU

In the election could be disrupted due to a low turnout of electoral officials and logistical challenges as service providers withdrew at the last minute.

Kisumu Central Returning Officer John Ngutahi expressed fear that the challenges could affect the commission’s capacity to effectively manage the poll.

By midday, IEBC officials from the region were still consulting security officers at an undisclosed location.

“Other than the delays, the staff we trained were actually less than the required number and this threatens to interfere with our normal operations,” Mr Ngutahi said.

“We are facing critical transport challenges and some ballot materials are still lying at the warehouse.”

The Kisumu Central officials also indicated that vehicle owners contracted to ferry ballot materials to the 196 polling stations in the constituency failed to show up.

On the other hand, Kisumu East constituency had not received most of its election materials by late afternoon.

Tom Mboya Labour College, which is Kisumu County’s tallying centre, also remained unusually empty as no preparations were being made by the electoral agency less than 24 hours to the poll.

KISII

Gucha South OCPD Richard Munguai warned residents against as Kisii returning officers prepared for the polls.

Police, who were deployed to all polling stations in the county to beef up security, assured voters of their safety.

Mr Munguai said more officers will be deployed to the county headquarters in Kisii town.

“All the officers who have been deployed to various polling stations in this county will only leave their stations when results have been transmitted,” he said.

Police will arrest those who try to disrupt the election, Mr Munguai said.

KAKAMEGA

Kakamega Returning Officer Grace Rono said ballot papers and other electoral materials had been transported to respective constituencies in preparation for the election.

“We are ready for election tomorrow (Thursday). All we are praying for is peace,” she said.

Security has been beefed up following tension caused by the warning residents against voting. Three suspects have been arrested.

 “Let it be very clear that we will be protecting voters who turn up at polling stations to vote. Those who try to disrupt the process are our biggest enemies and police will deal with them firmly,” said Western region police coordinator Moses Ombati.

Report by Benson Amadala, Elgar Machuka, Henry Nyarora, Nelcon Odhiambo, Rushdie Oudia and Victor Raballa.

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