Marsabit residents urged to maintain calm as they wait for results

Marsabit voters

Voters queue to vote at Turbi polling station on August 9,2022 at 4 PM.

Photo credit: Jacob Walter I Nation Media Group

Anxiety is rising in Marsabit County amid delays in announcing election results, but residents have been urged to be patient.

Marsabit County Commissioner Paul Rotich told the Nation by phone that the elections were peaceful across the county.

He said there were no “disruptions or conflicts in this county. However, we still call upon the voters to be patient as the vote tallying process continues”.

He said winners and losers should carry themselves with dignity and respect their opponents.

He urged voters to give the IEBC time to finalise its work.

Delays in the counting, collation and tallying of votes in the county were partly caused by malfunctioning Kiems kits, logistical glitches and illiteracy among voters.

But even as that process was underway in Saku, North Horr, Moyale and Laisamis constituencies, some voters in Marsabit town were already celebrating.

Candidates upbeat

Some candidates were upbeat on Wednesday morning, saying provisional results showed that they had won and were just waiting for the formal IEBC results to begin celebrating.

On the flip side, those who felt their preferred candidates were likely to lose had started looking into the future.
Some had reportedly begun peeling off the political branding on their vehicles.

For instance, the followers of Saku MP Dido Rasso, who was taking the lead judging by provisional results, were happily singing and dancing in Marsabit town.

Similar jubilation was witnessed among supporters of UPIA party Marsabit Central MCA candidate Jack Elisha, who was also deemed to be taking an early lead.

On Tuesday, Moyale MP candidate Hassan Guyo Roba urged the IEBC to extend voting hours as voting had been slow.

Breakdowns of Kiems kits were reported across the county and with long lines, it was clear many voters would be unable to vote by 5pm.

“We appeal to the IEBC to extend voting hours so that all voters can cast their votes in Marsabit County and compensate for the lost hours when the Kiems kits broke down and when the voting process dragged on when the voters were being assisted to cast their votes,” Dr Guyo said.

Late opening of polling stations

Calls to extend voting time came amid reports that some polling stations opened two hours late because polling officers lacked transport to their centres.

Some voters told the Nation that polling stations had not opened by 9am.

Similar problems were reported in Laisamis constituency as more than 30 percent of voters  could not read or write and required help from presiding officers.

An Igad election observer told journalists that nearly 80 percent of voters turned up to vote in the region but about 30 percent of them were illiterate.

In Moyale constituency, Kiems kits malfunctioned at some polling stations, slowing down voting.

Kiems kits

Constituency returning officer Jeffiner Mauta said nine of 162 Kiems kits in the constituency failed to work.

“[Voting] started smoothly at 6am in all polling stations in Moyale constituency without any notable incidents, apart from the failure of a few Kiems kits, which were quickly replaced by our technical staff,” Mr Mauta said.

Voting started at 6am at such polling stations as Funan Nyata, Fatul Bahri, Baraza Park, Manyatta Madrasa, Moyale Boys High School and St Mary’s, Sesi, Butiye, and Moyale primary schools.

When we arrived at Funan Nyata, which has 874 registered voters, at 7.10am, hundreds of voters had started streaming in.

It was the same case at Moyale Boys, which has1,372 registered voters, with hundreds in queues by 7.30am.

Moyale is the most populous constituency in Marsabit County, with 68,468 registered voters across 162 polling stations. There is only one prison polling station in the constituency and has six voters.

At the polling stations, a good number of presiding officers decried illiteracy as a major hiccup, as several voters who could not read or write had to be assisted by IEBC workers and party agents to cast their ballots.

Chance to vote

Mr Mauta, the constituency returning officer, said the IEBC would ensure that all qualified voters would have a chance to vote regardless of whether they could read or not.

At the Turbi polling station in North Horr constituency polling clerks encountered glitches with some Kiems kits, slowing down voting.

Turbi Deputy County Commissioner Nicholas Kijiba said high illiteracy levels among voters in the area was a big concern.

“There were no serious glitches as security has been beefed up in the region, except for the slowed voting process following the long times taken by voters to get assisted,” he said.


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