Stations open in Kenya’s repeat presidential election

Kenyans have started voting in the country’s repeat presidential election that the main oppositional coalition, the National Super Alliance (Nasa), has boycotted.

Voters, armed with their national identity cards, started streaming into polling stations as early as 5am on Thursday but voting centres officially opened at 6am.

SECURITY

Voting was delayed in some stations due to lack of agents to confirm that ballot boxes were empty, with some presiding officers using voters to make the confirmations.

In most of the affected stations, it was the opposition agents who were missing.

Rains, which have been pounding parts of East African country, also contributed to the delays in voting at some stations.

Security was beefed up in most polling stations located in perceived Nasa strongholds, with lorry-loads of police not taking chances.

queue6 Stations open in Kenya's repeat presidential election

Voters at Molo Secondary School polling stations queue as they wait to cast their vote on October 26, 2017. Voting begun at 6am and is ongoing smoothly. PHOTO | REITZ MUREITHI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The heavy deployment is linked to fears that supporters of Nasa leader Raila Odinga, who pulled out of the repeat election citing refusal of the electoral commission to effect his suggested reforms, may attack stations.

Mr Odinga has since asked his supporters to keep off polling stations and streets, where they have protesting, after declaring that Nasa is no longer a political coalition but “a resistance movement”.

TURNOUT

Voting in the six coast counties started on a low note, with fewer residents showing up at polling stations at 6am as compared to a similar time on August 8.

Although the residents in the predominantly Muslim region flocked mosques for prayers at 5am, most seemed not interested in voting.

voter6 Stations open in Kenya's repeat presidential election

Voters streaming in to vote at Wabera Primary school polling station in Isiolo town. PHOTO | VIVIAN JEBET | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Kilifi, Mombasa, Lamu and Taita Taveta counties recorded low turnout at the start of the poll that was ordered by the Supreme Court on September 1.

In some polling stations, no voter had turned out by 7am.

Hundreds had showed up to vote in most stations an hour into the voting on August 8 during Kenya’s General Election, whose presidential poll was quashed by the country’s apex court.

Voter5 Stations open in Kenya's repeat presidential election

A voter casts ballot at St Peters Secondary School in Narok North Constituency on October 26, 2017. PHOTO | GEORGE SAYAGIE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Some polling stations in Tana River had a “good” number of people waiting to vote by 6am, according to presiding officers.

The weather was favourable in most parts of the Coast in the early morning despite the heavy rains that have been pounding the region.

STATIONS

Security was heightened in most of the polling stations, with police looking out for any troublemakers.

Voter4 Stations open in Kenya's repeat presidential election

Lamu resident Mohamed Abdalla casting his vote at Lamu Fort polling station on October 26, 2017. PHOTO | KALUME KAZUNGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Mombasa, a perceived Nasa stronghold, it appeared most of the residents heeded their leaders’ calls not to vote.

Only a few people were seen in most polling stations by 7am, with some centres not receiving a single voter, an hour into the voting.

Queue3 Stations open in Kenya's repeat presidential election

Voters queuing at Mutomo Primary School in Gatundu. President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to vote at the polling centre on October 26, 2017. PHOTO | WANDERI KAMAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Mvita Constituency, which has the second-highest number of registered voters in the county after Kisauni, most voters had not turned up to participate in the exercise.

At Mombasa Inspectorate polling station, for instance, only four people turned out to vote by voter compared to the hundreds who had showed up by 6am on August 8.

At Star of the Sea Primary School polling centre, only about 15 people were seen at the centre by 7am.

Voter1 Stations open in Kenya's repeat presidential election

A voter verifies his details at Ncuui Secondary School polling station in Tigania East Constituency on October 26, 2017. PHOTO | KEN BETT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Likoni constituency, most of the stations were deserted an hour into the voting.

At President Kenyatta’s polling centre Mutomo Primary School in Gatundu, Kiambu County, a few voters were present at the start of poll, a situation attributed to heavy rains and chilly weather.

queue1 Stations open in Kenya's repeat presidential election

Voters queuing at Nyeri Health Centre polling station in Nyeri town despite the chilly weather on October 26, 2017. PHOTO | GRACE GITAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By 6.20am, only a handful of voters had turned up in most polling centres in the area, compared to massive turnout witnessed on August 8.

But poll officials were optimistic residents would show up later once the rains subside and the weather becomes warmer.

voterwheelchairs Stations open in Kenya's repeat presidential election

A police officer helps Mr Francis Ngera 71 to get into Waso Primary School polling station to vote on October 26, 2017. PHOTO | VIVIAN JEBET | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mr Kenyatta enjoys a fanatical following in Kiambu and most counties in the Mount Kenya region.

The start of voting in most polling stations in Kakamega County was marked by a low turnout. Polling stations opened at 6am, with a handful of voters trickling in to cast their ballots.

Kakamega streets remained largely deserted with tight security being maintained at polling stations.

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A man walking into Wagberi Primary School polling centre, Wajir East to cats his ballot. PHOTO | BRUHAN MAKONG | NATION MEDIA GROUP

RAINS

In Meru County, most polling stations opened at 6am, with few voters braving the early morning rains.

At St Mary’s Immaculate polling centre in Imenti Central, only 10 voters had arrived when polling stations opened.

Mr Raymond Mutwiri, the presiding officer at Gitune Coffee Factory in South Imenti, said only 19 voters had voted by 7am.

VoterInmate Stations open in Kenya's repeat presidential election

An inmate Meshack Macharia displays his finger and national identity card after voting at Murang’a Prisons on October 26, 2017. PHOTO | GRACE GITAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Wajir County, voting in some centres started late with only two voters arriving at Wajir High School polling station by 7am.

County returning officer Patrick Gatuma said voting materials were yet to arrive in some polling stations in Wajir South and Wajir West due to the heavy rains on Wednesday night in parts of the county.

In Marsabit, voting began late due to a heavy downpour.

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Acting Interior CS Fred Matiang’i casts his vote at Manga Girls’ Secondary School polling station in Borabu constituency Nyamira County on October 26, 2017. PHOTO | BENSON MOMANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A spot check by the Nation showed that fewer people turned out to vote compared to August 8.

HOPE

In Isiolo, very few voters came out early to vote despite polling stations opening in time.

Mr Abdul Bahari Ali Jillo, who was a governor candidate in Isiolo in the August election, voted at Wabera Primary School polling station.

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Mr Joseph Maina casts his vote at the Moi Avenue Primary School in Nairobi as the fresh elections kicked off countrywide on October 26, 2017. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

He said voting was going on smoothly.

Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo cast her ballot and said the voting was peaceful.

She said she hoped for a high turnout during the day.

voterpolice Stations open in Kenya's repeat presidential election

A police officer casts his vote at Visa Oshwal Primary polling station in Baringo County during repeat presidential election on October 26,2017.Low voter turn out was experienced in the area. PHOTO | CHEBOITE KIGEN | NATION MEDIA GROUP

NORTH RIFT

Voting started slowly in the North Rift as few voters turned up early in the morning to cast their ballots.

There was not much enthusiasm in most polling stations unlike in the August 8 elections.

Some of the voters who turned up early said they were only interested in exercising their democratic rights.

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Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala casts his vote at PHD polling station in Mombasa on October 26, 2017. PHOTO | MOHAMED AHMED | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Eldoret town, shorter queues were witnessed at MV Patel Memorial Hall polling station, normally one the busiest during elections, as early as 6am.

TENT

Deputy President William Ruto is expected to vote at Kosachei Primary School in Turbo Constituency in Uasin Gishu later today.

In Trans Nzoia, an IEBC tent was brought down by unknown people last night at Matisi Cattle Dip Polling station, delaying voting.

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A voter carrying a banner showing how to cast a ballot at the Municipal Park polling centre in Naivasha on October 26, 2017. PHOTO | MACHARIA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Election officials were forced to put it up early in the morning before voting started.

In Bungoma, most polling stations were empty at 6am but as at 8am a handful of voters were seen reporting to cast their ballots.

In Narok North constituency, voting in urban areas kicked off well while in some rural areas they did not begin in time, especially in areas considered Nasa zones in which voters were yet to turn up by 7.30am.

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Lucia Wairimu,99, displays her inked finger moments after voting at Kirichu polling station in Nyeri. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Heavy rains in the highland areas of Mau Narok delayed the arrival of voting material on Wednesday night.

In Naivasha, long queues were seen in most polling stations with voters braving early morning showers to cast their ballots.

As early as 4am, motorcycle operators were blowing vuvuzelas and hooting in the estates as they mobilised residents to vote.

VOTEgovernor Stations open in Kenya's repeat presidential election

Nyeri Governor Wahome Gakuru casts his vote at Kirichu polling centre on October 26, 2017. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Nakuru, long queues were seen in most polling stations.

However, the turnout in Kaptembwa Ward was extremely low, with most stations almost deserted.

The area is considered an opposition zone.

EXCITEMENT

A large number of voters turned up in Molo Constituency.

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Kangemi residents waiting to vote at New Kihumbuini Primary School. One of the KIEMS kit had failed causing the delay but was later replaced. PHOTO | KEN KIMANTHI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Nyandarua, some stations had fewer voters early in the morning compared to the last election, while others had long queues.

But the excitement witnessed during the August 8 election was not witnessed in Thursday’s repeat poll.

Several businesses were also open and already operating as traders said they would vote later.

votegovlee Stations open in Kenya's repeat presidential election

Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui casting his vote at Crater Primary School in Nakuru Town East Constituency on October 26, 2017. PHOTO | FRANCIS MUREITHI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In August, most businesses were closed in the morning on voting day.

A number of polling stations in Laikipia West constituency had few voters in the early hours.

MT KENYA

Many voters in Mt Kenya braved the chilly weather to turn up in large numbers in all polling stations as early as 6am.

The early morning turnout was lower than it was on August 8, which was blamed on the weather, but more people came out to vote as the day progressed.

VOTEMCA Stations open in Kenya's repeat presidential election

Nominated MCA Adan Dube casting his vote at Kenyatta Stadium pulling station in Maralal, Samburu County on October 26, 2017. PHOTO | GODFREY OUNDOH | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Nyeri, voting began at 6am but the queues were not as long as in August.

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua said voting was swift and was taking less than two minutes. In Kirinyaga and Murang’a counties, long queues were witnessed as early as 4am despite the heavy rains.

“I don’t care about the cold and the rains, I just want to ensure that before participating in my house chores I cast my vote for my preferred candidate,” Ms Joyce Nduta told the Nation at Mukuyu polling station.

 

Reported by Mohamed Ahmed, Barnabas Bii, Francis Mureithi, George Sayagie, Joseph Openda, Linet Amuli, Macharia Mwangi, Magdalene Wanja, Reitz Mureithi, Steve Njuguna, Waikwa Maina, Gerald Bwisa, Titus Oteba, Lucy Mkanyika, Galgalo Bocha, Kazungu Samuel, Brian Ocharo, Kalume Kazungu, Diana Mutheu, Benson Amadala, David Muchui, Isabel Githae, Bruhan Makong, Vivian Jebet, Irene Mwendwa, Grace Gitau, Irene Mugo, Ndung’u Gachane, Nicholas Komu and Eunice Murathe.

There has been anxiety and tension since Mr Odinga pulled out of the race.

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