The much awaited primaries for the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) in Nakuru kicked off on a low key amid logistical hiccups and a worrying low voter turnout.
Most major polling stations in Nakuru East and West remained closed as at 9am with voters who turned out as early as 5am expressing dissatisfaction at the manner in which party officials were running the exercise.
A spot check by KNA established that most polling centres including Nakuru West Secondary School, Muslim Primary School, Kapkures Health Centre, St Theresa Primary School and Mogoon Primary School had their gates locked with voters complaining that there was no communication from party officials as to why the exercise had not started as scheduled.
Disappointed and angry voters who said they were tired of waiting left protesting the unexplained delay while blaming the party for poor planning
Most voters are low income earners who turned up early to vote so that they could embark on various casual income generating activities but with the logistical delays, most of them opted to go to work first.
“I was here at 5am so that I vote before going to work but the gates were locked as you can see and no one is offering any explanation to us,” said Francis Nyabwari, who was to vote at Muslim Primary School.
Mary Nyabuga said she arrived at 5.30am to vote for her preferred candidate before leaving for work but was disappointed that the exercise had delayed.
“It’s unfair for them to keep us waiting here and I fear I may be unable to vote for my candidate,” she said.
Pauline Nyasinde, a 60 year old casual laborer, blamed the IEBC and the ODMs National Election Board for the inconvenience, saying such undue delays without prior communication to voters do a great disservice not only to their democratic right of the partys ardent supporters but also to the image of the opposition.
Another voter, only identified as Tim Tim, called on the coordinators of the exercise to expedite the essential logistical arrangements in a bid to start the exercise which he said was spiraling into disarray like similar exercises witnessed in other parts of the country in recent days.
He said early corrective action would help to restore the voters confidence in the party primaries which he noted was critical to its future in the County where the ruling Jubilee party controls a large support base.
He added that the voters were expecting a free and fair nomination that would allow them to choose their leaders without undue influence from outside
At the Nakuru Central Police Station, Party officials were racing against time to distribute Election materials even as disillusionment remained palpable among voters.
However, the elections Coordinator for Nakuru East Constituency James Ouko said the delays had been occasioned by requisite logistical arrangements which he said had already been sorted out and the preliminaries would take off as scheduled in all the areas polling centres.
Ouko attributed the low turn out to what he described as misinformation to voters on the exact date for the primaries, saying a considerable number of voters were expecting to vote on Friday 21st April as earlier communicated by the IEBC and the ODMs Election Board.
Source: Kenya News Agency