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Names, papers mess delay voting at Jubilee Party nominations

Confusion caused by mix-up of ballot materials and missing names in the voter register delayed repeat Jubilee Party nominations in Nandi, Elgeyo-Marakwet and Baringo counties on Monday morning although voting resume later in the day.

There were fears that the exercise might not proceed as planned but election officials managed to calm down restless voters in polling stations that experienced considerable turnout.

Voters waited until late morning before casting of votes started.

In Tinderet constituency, Nandi County, ballot papers were missing in 13 polling stations in Meteitei, sparking protest among voters. In Chesumei and Aldai constituencies, some of the voters were turned away as their names were missing from the voter register.

The party supporters who had turned up as early as 4am had to wait until 10am when the voting materials were delivered to the polling station.

USE IDENTITY CARDS

The declaration by the Jubilee Party elections board that voters could use their identity cards to vote if they could not find their names in the register came as a relief to hundreds who had been chased away.

Former Cabinet minister Henry Kosgei, who is gunning for the governor’s seat, voted at Kipkoror polling station in Tinderet but his wife Zipporah found her name was missing from the voter register.

“The Jubilee Party has to carry out free and democratic nominations to redeem itself,” said Mr Kosgey.

READ: Jubilee reschedules primaries in more counties

Another gubernatorial aspirant Felix Koskei cast his vote at Chepterit and noted that the use of 2013 voter register locked out most of the youth from the nominations.

“Despite the false start on Friday and the current confusion caused by missing names and mix-up of ballot materials, the exercise is encouraging,” said Mr Koskei.

POSSIBLE RIGGING
Aspirants for other elective positions appealed to the party members to guard against possible rigging that will deny them electing leaders of their choice.

In Baringo, there was a standoff after more than 4,700 ballot papers for parliamentary aspirants went missing in more than 18 polling stations.

READ: How Jubilee will announce poll results

Irate voters protested outside the sub-county commissioner’s office. Among the affected polling stations where were Ossen, Termet, Tuloi, Kabarbet, Sumeiyon, Kaptum, Sogom, Kiling’ot, Seremwo, Ng’eiwan and Kabartonjo.

Voting started at 2pm in the affected stations after the aspirants with the intervention of the county commissioner Peter Okwanyo agreed to photocopy the available ballot papers.

Late distribution of materials also delayed voting in most polling stations. A spot check by the Nation at Solian Primary School in Eldama-Ravine revealed that more than 15 names of voters were missing in the register.

POLLING STATIONS MERGED

In the insecurity-prone Baringo South sub-county, more than 30 polling stations were merged as residents have fled some areas.

Governor Benjamin Cheboi cast his vote at Shimoni Primary School in Eldama-Ravine.

In Elgeyo-Marakwet, voters whose names were missing in the register were allowed to cast their ballots using their identity cards but polling clerks kept the identification documents until the exercise was over to stop multiple voting.

Some polling stations reported shortage of ballot papers but aspirants met and agreed to use last week ones.

County governor Alex Tolgos voted at Kiptabus Primary School in Keiyo North constituency.

By Barnabas Bii, Flora Koech and Philemon Suter

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