University of Nairobi students went to the polls on Friday to elect their new representatives amidst allegations of bribery, intimidation and irregularities.
The hotly contested seat for the Chair of the Student Organisation of Nairobi University (SONU) eventually went to DMK Kiogora who garnered 3786 votes, beating Erick Janganya while Kenneth Sambu controversially beat Ben Serikal for the post of secretary general.
In a first for student elections, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) conducted the elections on behalf of the University administration which has traditionally overseen SONU elections.
However, even the presence of IEBC officials did not fool-proof the election process as wide-spread rigging and irregularities were reported in most campuses.
Hours to the election, a leading contender for the post of Secretary General, Ben Serikal, was beaten and robbed of his valuables at Kikuyu campus, suffering head injuries.
In other faculties, students turned up to vote only to find their names missing from the voters register even though the lists forwarded to elections officials by faculty had all the names
The hiring of election officials according to two clerks, who sought anonymity, was said to be largely transparent, but that some cases were questionable.
“While we are supposed to be impartial, some clerks have openly asked voters to pick specific candidates. The clerks are supposed to be paid Ksh5,000 for their services, but those who have acted for some candidates pocket up to Ksh20,000 extra,” said one of the clerks.
Going by the mass irregularities, this election was openly turned from an electoral contest to a rigging contest. Credible election officials tell us that the rigging was done far and wide by almost every candidate; the best rigger won the day.
Sheila Lupao, a candidate for the post of Gender Affairs is said to have gotten not a single vote from main campus but had plans to ensure she got 4,000 votes from Kikuyu campus, whose population is about 2,000. One student confirmed to have voted 12 times.
Photoshop played a critical role in the elections. Most candidates had exceedingly good looking appearances on the posters but the contrary can be said in reality.