Puzzle of deserted Nairobi streets on polls day against low turn-out

Wednesday, August 10th, 2022 06:00 | By
A voter casts her ballot at a station in Buru Buru Primary School, Nairobi. PD/MUTHOKI KITHANZE
A voter casts her ballot at a station in Buru Buru Primary School, Nairobi. PD/MUTHOKI KITHANZE

Low voter turnout characterised yesterday’s voting exercise in various parts of Nairobi County.

A spot check by ‘People Daily’ revealed short queues compared to the 2017 General Election in Starehe, Embakasi and Kamukunji constituencies.

 In Embakasi West constituency, the voter turnout was dismal at all polling centres in the early hours of yesterday morning, a situation that persisted until closing time.

Voters stood in short queues, a stark difference from previous elections when extended lines meandered the polling centres, said Martin Maina, a presiding officer at a Buruburu polling centre.

 Nevertheless, residents who showed up expressed satisfaction with the process, citing the easiness of voting and the supportive electoral officials.

 “The voting process is clear, unlike last time when there was a lot of confusion due to poor design. After casting my ballot, I will go home and follow the rest of the process on television. Whatever will be, will be,” said voter Stephen Onyango.

 Embakasi is among 17 sub-counties in Nairobi country. It has 141,878 registered voters, with a total of 208 polling stations. The sitting Member of Parliament is George Theuri, who is defending his seat under the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party. He cast his vote at Umoja I Primary School station at 11:30am, accompanied by his children.

 “While in a queue at the polling station, I was told that my name was in a different place. I had to start queuing again,” said Regina Mawea.

To ease with identification of polling stations, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) provided a printed list of names corresponding to the polling numbers outside all centres.

 Security officers deployed to various stations were vigilant, while electoral officers verbally guaranteed a fair and transparent electoral process.

A poll official at Eastleigh High School station, Diana Mutuku, said the exercise was going on well, adding that the turnout was impressive.

At stations in Eastleigh Secondary School, Riverbank Primary School, Moi Avenue Primary School and Technical University of Kenya, the voting exercise was very slow.

Most streets of Nairobi’s central business district (CBD) remained deserted.

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