IEBC pledges to deliver credible poll

All things are in place: Polling clerks collect ballot boxes from the National Cereals and Produce Board depot in Makueni before proceeding to their respective polling centres on Sunday, March 3, 2013. PHOTO/JENNIFER MUIRURI
By Nation Team  ( email the author)

Posted  Sunday, March 3  2013 at  20:45

In Summary

  • Electoral commission says it has deployed polling materials to over 33,400 polling stations as police assure voters of security

The electoral commission has said it is ready for Monday’s General Election.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Issack Hassan on Sunday said, with the help of the Police department, they had deployed security personnel to the over 33,400 polling stations across the country.

“The commission has put in place all the necessary measures to ensure a free, fair and credible elections,” he said in a news briefing at the National Elections Centre at Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi.

IEBC confirmed that election materials had arrived in all the 290 constituencies across the country.

“I can confirm that all election materials have arrived at all polling centres in every corner of the country. Everything is going according to plan and we are confident that the election will go on smoothly,” IEBC Chief Executive James Oswago told Nation.

Mr Oswago said all polling stations would open at 6am and close at 5pm but the closing time could be extended to ensure that all voters in the queue cast their ballot.

“We will extend voting in areas where voting starts late or in case there are people in the queues at the time of the deadline. This is primarily to enable everybody to vote but we hope that this will not go on for long,” said Oswago.

Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo also confirmed that security officers had been deployed to all corners of the country to ensure law and order prevails during the poll.

Speaking during a Sunday service at All Saints Cathedral, Nairobi, Mr Kimaiyo appealed to Kenyans to maintain peace during and after the elections, and warned that police would firmly deal with troublemakers.

“I am making a passionate appeal, tomorrow as we go to vote, let us maintain the same peace that we have enjoyed this far. No one should do anything that can raise tension or trigger conflict,” he said.

A record 99,000 police officers have been deployed to man polling centres and handle security issues during the elections.

Mr Kimaiyo said his department had already begun deploying the officers to their work stations.

He said the officers were drawn from Kenya Police, Administration Police, Kenya Prisons Service, Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forestry Service, and National Youth Service, adding that no imposters would infiltrate the operations.

“We are adequately prepared for this exercise. We have developed a contingency action plan 2013 that has been discussed at the National Security Advisory Council,” he said.

The document, he said, covers areas where police will be deployed in all the polling centres and hotspots prone to electoral violence.

“Areas of operation in hotspots are dynamic depending on the situation at any given time and we are prepared adequately.”

He said voters would not be allowed to stay at polling stations after casting their ballot because the law requires them to stay at least 400 meters away.

“Please do not hang around the polling stations. Only party agents are allowed to witness the counting of votes. Whoever wins whatever seat, people should accept the results,” he said.

He asked winners to celebrate their victory in a civil manner without disrupting the freedom of others.

“Those who lose should accept defeat because there will be other opportunities in future but if they want redress, they should follow laid down structures by going to court and file petitions,” he said.

In Kajiado, dispatching of electoral materials in various parts of the county started as late as 2pm.

In Kisii, South Nyanza Election Coordinator Mwaura Kamwatio appealed to voters to turn out early to vote and help speed up results processing.

In Kitui, all is set for Monday’s elections after poll materials and security officers were sent to all polling stations on Sunday.

Election officials were sent to the stations as early as Saturday.

Returning Officer John Matekwa said Kitui Central’s 164 presiding officers were taken through the procedure of the elections and how to relay results from polling stations.

In Makueni, preparations for the poll were in top gear on Sunday, with the electoral commission distributing ballot papers and other materials to polling centres.

Makueni Returning Officer Joseph Kilonzi said, “we are trying to ensure all polling stations have ballot papers.”

In Siaya, all is set for the exercise according the electoral commission.

An IEBC official said presiding officers from all the 575 centres had collected both strategic and non-materials in readiness for the poll.

Siaya police boss Stephen Cheteka said they were ready for the elections in terms of security arrangements.

Police in Machakos county have warned the public against interfering with election after two lorries transporting voting materials were detained by a mob in Kathiani constituency.

The mob was protesting the fact that the lorries bore addresses from a location outside the county.

In North Rift, private security are doing booming business due to increased demand for their services to provide security during and after the polls. Also on demand are vigilante groups, especially in urban residential areas, to protect lives and property due what the locals attribute to limited police services.

In Coast, election materials had left most constituency tallying centres to polling stations by midday Sunday amid tight security across the region with 1,164,083 registered voters.

Coast provincial police officer Aggrey Adoli said contingents of Regular and Administration Police, and General Service Unit personnel, among other security officers, were on the ground patrolling and ensuring security is maintained within polling centres.

By Peter Leftie, Lucas Barasa, Benjamin Muindi, Ponciano Odongo, Bob Odalo, Justus Wanga, Paul Juma, Geoffrey Ombogo, Barnabas Bii, Galgalo Bocha and Rebecca Okwanyi.

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