, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 4 – Long queues have been witnessed in most parts of the country on Wednesday as Kenyans turned up in large numbers to cast their ballot as a referendum that is being considered a milestone in the country\’s history opened.
Polling stations opened at 6am and are expected to close at 5pm after which a tallying of votes will start.
In Embakasi, Kamukunji and Makadara constituencies voters began trooping into the various polling centres at about 5am.
Sizable crowds have already gathered in parts of Nairobi, Coast, Rift Valley and Nyanza provinces.
Voters are required to produce their new elector’s cards and their National Identity Cards or Passports, depending on which one they used to register, in order to cast their ballot.
And in a bid to ensure the vote goes smoothly, security has also been beefed up with more than 63,000 police officers deployed across the country, to conduct both ground and aerial patrols.
Meanwhile, President Mwai Kibaki will cast his vote in his Othaya constituency on Wednesday morning. He is expected to cast his vote at Munaini Primary School at about 10am.
Cabinet Minister Kiraitu Murungi will cast his vote at Irimbene Primary School in Meru at the same time, while Anyang Nyong\’o will vote at Ratta Primary School in Kisumu Rural at 9am.
Voters in Kisumu meanwhile, have been woken up by blaring vuvuzelas as citizens urged their compatriots to head to the various polling stations to vote.
Our correspondent in Kisumu Ojwang Joe said that there have been no hitches in the vote so far and polling stations are slowly filling up with voters.
Kisumu Town East MP Shakeel Shabir cast his ballot at about 6.10am at the Pand Pieri Centre, and there are long queues at the Aga Khan polling centre as Kenyans brave the morning cold to decide whether or not they want a new law.
The tallying and relaying of votes shall for the first time in Kenya’s history be conducted electronically.
Top ICT brains in Kenya have been busy at the Bomas National Tallying Centre together with major mobile phone providers, testing and re-testing the technology.
Presiding Officers at the more than 27,000 Polling stations will use specially configured mobile phones to send real time results to Nairobi after tallying.
Commissioner David Chirchir says this will ensure transparency and accuracy.