Elections boycott and protests in Kibera

Anti-riot police drive protesters to the slum

By Habari Kibra Team

Known to be a hotspot when it comes to elections-related violence, most parts of Kibera remained peaceful as a dismal number of voters trickled in polling stations to vote as compared to the August 8th poll.

A section of Kibera Kamukunji area was turned into a battlefield as protesters allied to the National Super Alliance (NASA) engaged the police forces by hurling stones at them while the police threw teargas canisters to try to disperse them.

From the balcony of the fourth floor at Olympic Primary, the protesters could be seen running into the slum and at times taking cover in the shanty structures across the rail track from tear gas smoke.These protests were taking place near Olympic Primary school, meant to be one of the polling station meant to allow voters come out and cast their vote.

Some of the protesters had special slings and used them to hurl stones at the police once in awhile, especially after a teargas canister was thrown at them.

The Kenya Red Cross team were here too and closely monitored the situation between the protesters and the police and at one point were able to evacuate one person who was hit by a stray bullet for further treatment.

Kenya Redcross ready to help any casualties

Earlier in the  morning, sections of Car Wash area and Olympic matatu stage along the main Kibera drive road were barricaded with stones across the road and building polls forcing transport service paralyzed in the section, It was not until 8.30 am when a contingent of police officers arrived  on the spot and managed to remove all the barricades so as to clear way for electoral materials to be brought to Olympic and Ayany primary school.

This was after locals youths had kept vigil at night to ensure that no voting materials could be allowed to pass through and delivered to these two polling stations located within Sarango’mbe ward.

The main entrance to the Olympic primary school gate too was earlier blocked by the NASA supporters as a measure to lock away the electoral body officials of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). However, around 11.30 am ballot boxes heavily escorted by police patrol vehicles were able to make their way through the school compound and delivered voting materials in respective designated polling stations after protesters were pushed back into the slum.

Low voter turn out in the October repeat poll

However, no voters turned up to cast their vote at this polling station, following NASA flag bearer and opposition leader Raila Odinga call on Wednesday 25th, asking his supporters to boycott the process. The call to boycott the repeat elections follows the withdrawal of opposition leader Raila Odinga from the presidential race citing the failure of the electoral commission to comply with the opposition’s demands for reforms before the repeat elections.  

‘I feel very sad, because we as the opposition have been denied our rights, we had wanted proper reforms before we get into another poll exercise, but the government has decided that poll has to take place today and we have refused,’ Chacha Were, a NASA supporter shared.

On the other side at Old Kibera Primary, where NASA’s flag bearer Raila Odinga cast his vote during the August poll, the voter turnout was low in comparison to the 8th August polls with only a handful of voters casting their votes. This time around, the whole voting process taking less than 3minutes as a voter was only required to cast one vote for their preferred Presidential candidate.

Mohamed Ramadhan, a voter at Old Kibera Primary was upbeat as he explained that it was his constitutional right to come out and vote in accordance with the Kenyan constitution. His thoughts were that elections process was going well.

‘I want life to continue after this elections, those guys blocking Olympic Primary are in the wrong and they are not exercising their constitutional right,’ were Ramadhan’s sentiments

Speaking to Madam Hamisa Obeid Hassan, the IEBC Presiding Officer of poll station number nine, at Old Kibera Primary School, she noted that the voting process was going on without any hitch hoping that as the day progressed, voter turnout might increase.

‘Today we are moving very smoothly, and voters are walking into poll stations where they were registered  to cast their votes, we have not experienced any challenges so far,’ added Obeid

Outside each door of the poll station, a contingent of security officers manned each entry together with the National Youth Servicemen and women who kept a hawk-eye vigil to ensure there was peace at all times.

At DC grounds earlier in the day, the voter turnout numbers recorded sizeable figures as voters embraced the early morning rains and queued to wait for their turn to vote.

A different narrative was however reported at Raila Educational Center, where a section of rowdy youths armed with stones spent the better part of the morning throwing stones into the school as a way to disrupt the voting process. This led to some of the polling clerks abandon their workstations fearing for their lives after the youths broke the wall to getting access to the voting poll station

The 26th October repeat polls come in the backdrop of a major Kenya’s Supreme Court landmark ruling that annulled the results of the Presidential elections results and ordered that a repeat poll exercise is conducted within a period of 60 days. The ruling read by Chief Justice David Maraga found that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had failed to conduct the presidential election in line with the constitution.

Kibra constituency’s registered voters stand at 118,276, this is according to the last data from the IEBC.

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