, MAKUENI, Kenya, Jul 26 – Voting in Makueni County got off to an early start, despite fears that the late night delivery of ballot papers might delay the process.
Voters registered at Unoa Primary School in Wote town started arriving as early at 5:30am in a steady stream eager to cast their ballots and get on with their day’s activities.
Both the young and old turned up to witness the presiding officer seal the empty ballot boxes and went on to append their names and signatures in verification of the seal numbers.
While voting commenced promptly in Unoa, voting at the Uma Primary School in Mbooni began at 6.40am after the ballot papers arrived at 3am in the morning.
The voters Capital FM News spoke to were pleasantly surprised at the efficiency of the exercise given media reports on the last minute modifications that preceded the voting.
“I was initially concerned that Mutula Kilonzo Junior’s name wouldn’t appear or that it wouldn’t come out clearly but now that I’ve seen it, I’m at ease,” one voter told Capital FM News.
The sentiments were shared by a number of other voters. “His name is there and his photo is there and I’m very happy about it.”
The efficiency of the Electronic Voter Identification kits also seemed to pleasantly surprise the voters. “It wasn’t like the general election at all. I put my finger on the gadget and all of a sudden I was looking at (a photo of) myself.”
Election observers also appeared happy with the exercise. “It was expected the lines wouldn’t be as long as they were in the general election given there is only one seat in dispute but it’s like the Presiding Officers had it drilled into their heads that they must do everything by the book and they are going out of their way to ensure we see that it is,” an observer with the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission told Capital FM News.
Only a day before the commencement of the voting exercise the Institute for Education in Democracy said the Makueni by-election would be a make-or-break for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and despite a rocky start, things are looking up.
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