NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 4 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga cast his ballot on Monday morning at the Old Kibera Primary School, where he expressed optimism polling would be smooth.
Speaking after voting, Odinga said he was pleased with the way the voting was being carried out by the Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officials.
The premier who is a presidential candidate under the CORD coalition believes the process will be done by 5pm on Monday in areas where voting started on time.
“I have not seen anything that would make me get worried. I am excited the way IEBC prepared for these elections. It has taken me around three minutes to vote. I think there is sufficient time to enable everyone who turned out to vote to get that chance,” Odinga told the battery of journalists at the polling station.
He said the elections were historical since they are taking place under the new constitution and called on Kenyans who have turned out to vote to remain peaceful throughout the whole process.
“I am very pleased by the turn out this morning; Kenyans have turned out in record numbers. Never before have Kenyans come out in large numbers like this to exercise their democratic rights,” Odinga said.
“I am sure everyone wants to make a clear statement, that we are ready for a change,” he added, optimistic that CORD would emerge victorious.
He has however called on IEBC to be keen and ensure that all hitches being experienced in various polling stations across the country are addressed for voting to end in good time.
One of the observers from the Constitution and Implementation Commission Catherine Mumma also called on voters who were still on the queue to be patient, urging those who had already cast their ballot to go back home and wait for the results.
“I woke up at 5am and have gone to several stations. I started with Muguga polling station in Westlands constituency and by 5:30am the queue was over two kilometres long. And the rest, even here at Kibera, you can see people are many. I would urge all the voters to just hold on and be patient until they vote,” Mumma said.
Voters who spoke to Capital FM said they were confident that the process would be peaceful and transparent.
“My name is Mary Kambua, I live in Kibera, I have already voted and I am happy things are better than last time here. Things are a bit organised.”
“I woke up at 12am so as to be here by 1am. We were around 20 people and we waited until that gate was open. I am happy I have voted,” said another voter.
But even as voting went on, a musician by the name Nelson Mandela from Mathare, decided to visit several polling stations in Kibera not only to entertain the exhausted voters in the queues, but to preach peace.
“First I woke up at 3 o’clock to vote in Mathare. Then when I came here in Kibera in the morning and I started singing and initially people started by telling me to move away because I was disturbing them. But after a few minutes they listened to my message; they are happy with me now. At least I am relaxing their minds. I have decided to use music because music has power,” said guitarist Nelson Mandela.
Another one, Solomon Miundo, who also decided to preach peace to Kenyans by drawing graffiti on the road in the area, with a peace message.
“You can also call me Solo7; I will paint until my ink is finished. I do this for a living, but today I will do it for the sake of our country. Because I don’t want to see what happened in 2007 again,” he said.