, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 26 – The weather in Nairobi County on Thursday morning was chilly with low visibility as the country headed for a controversial repeat presidential election.
In Mathare constituency, a populous informal settlement with a high following for Opposition leader Raila Odinga, the mood was dull, coupled with tension.
Agitated youths took to the streets insisting they would not allow the poll to kick off following withdrawal of Odinga’s candidature.
“No elections!” they chanted.
But as much as they wanted to air their grievances they were careful. “Don’t take any video. We are protecting our interests,” they told this reporter.
Most roads were barricaded despite Odinga’s appeal to his supporters to stay away from polling stations.
– Vehicle search –
Police were only seen manning polling centres while youths took charge of other areas.
At some point, this reporter and his team were stopped and ordered to explain their ‘business’ in area.
The youths also asked for their identification documents but sense later prevailed and we were allowed to proceed with our work.
– Others voting –
But it was not a complete boycott within Nairobi County.
The difference was clear; it is all about political affiliation which in Kenya is largely informed by ethnicity.
In some parts of Mathare where there are Jubilee supporters, voting was underway on Thursday morning.
Along Juja Road, long queues had formed with hundreds of people who wanted to participate in the poll.
“We are ready to affirm our positions as Kenyan voters,” Margaret Wangui, a resident of Mathare said.
At St Teresa polling station in Mlango Kubwa, voters including the elderly were seen on the queues ready to cast their votes.
“This is my right so that I can choose who will be my president,” 73 year-old Jackline Mumbi told Capital FM News.
They were no major incidents reported in Nairobi despite some tension, more so within the informal sectors where sharp political divisions exist.