1,064 Kenyans to vote in Uganda

1,064 Kenyans to vote in Uganda
Officials from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) records finger prints of a man as they collect data from the electorate during the launch of the 2017 general elections voter registration exercise, January 16, 2017. Courtesy Photo/REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya - RTSVQJV.

Two polling stations have been set up at the Kenyan High Commission in Kololo for Kenyans living in Uganda to cast their ballot in Tuesday’s general elections.

William Kahindi, the deputy returning officer under the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for the diaspora polling station in Kampala, says that they are set to have Kenyans in Uganda choose their next leaders.

Each of the polling stations is expected to have 592 registered voters totaling to 1,064 voters in Uganda. According to Kahindi, all the necessary electoral materials have already arrived in the country.

Voting will be through the Kenyan Integrated Electoral Management System after which the results will be transmitted to Kenya.

The High Commission in Kampala is part of the five countries including Burundi, South Africa, Rwanda and Tanzania where Kenyans will be allowed to vote.

Kahindi appealed to all Kenyans registered to vote from Uganda to utilize the provided time between 6:00am and 5:00pm tomorrow to vote for their leaders.

At least 19.7 million voters go to the polls in Kenya to elect a president, members of parliament and devolved government leaders, including county governors and ward representatives in the August 8 elections.

The presidential election is seen by many observers as too close to call, with President Uhuru Kenyatta facing stiff competition from his rival, opposition candidate Raila Odinga.

Odinga is making his fourth attempt at the presidency, having tried unsuccessfully in 1997, 2007 and 2012. To win the election outright, either candidate must gain at least 50 per cent of the votes as well as at least 25% of the votes in half of Kenya’s 47 counties.

Joyce Onyango, the voter educator at the Kenyan High Commission in Kampala says that only Kenyans registered to vote in Kampala will be allowed to vote. She appealed to voters to carry along their Kenyan Passports and cautioned them against carrying campaign materials or appearing in campaign attire.

“Kenyans in the diaspora who are registered here in Kampala, only Kenyans registered will vote here and they are encouraged to come with their Kenyan passport, And as they come they are notified not to wear any campaign clothing, not to do any campaigns in the polling stations within these areas,” she said.

While there are eight candidates in the presidential election, the race is between President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Jubilee Party of Kenya and Odinga of National Super Alliance.

Other candidates include Ekuru Aukot of Third Way Alliance Kenya, Dida Abduba of Alliance of Real Change, Cyrus Jirogo of United Democratic Party, and independent candidates Micheal Mwaura, Japheth Kaluyu and Joseph Nyagah.

Tensions have increased since the kidnapping and murder, a week ago, of Christopher Msando, head of information at Kenya’s Integrated Electoral Management System, the IEBC department responsible for voter identification and result-transmission technology.

Kenya’s 2013 election passed off peacefully, despite a breakdown in voter identification technology that Odinga based on to contest the results of the vote.

He petitioned Kenya’s highest court which ultimately ruled in Kenyatta’s favour. In 2007, the country was plunged into widespread violence in the aftermath of the elections and more than 1,500 people were killed and 600,000 displaced in the months of bloodshed.

This was after Raila Odinga who had been defeated by the then-President Mwai Kibaki claimed the vote had been rigged.