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Voting in Homa Bay smoothly conducted despite technical setbacks

The voting exercise in Homa Bay County commenced smoothly early this morning in most polling stations which saw hundreds of voters lining up to cast their votes.

However, a survey by Kenya News Agency revealed that there were some technical hitches with the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMS) kits which failed to identify the elderly during voter identification.

The elderly were not able to be identified biometrically due to the kits’ failure to identify their fingerprints and hence required a manual register which was not provided.

A spot check at Alara Korayo Primary School polling station within Kochia ward in Rangwe Constituency revealed that a number of elderly voters could not cast their votes prompting a few to give up the whole exercise.

84-year-old Rebecca Orimba was allegedly turned back since she could not be identified using the kit at the polling station.

“My mother has been turned away because the KIEMS kit could not identify her. Her name is on the list but they could not allow her to vote with claims that the manual register is not available,” said her son Elija Obado.

Obado said Orimba’s name was on the list of voters but however, the center’s presiding officer Morris Ogallo denied this saying that her details were not shown in the list and that she was not registered as a voter.

While casting her vote at the polling station, Homa Bay gubernatorial aspirant Gladys Wanga said the problem of KIEMS kit failing cuts across the whole county, adding that other polling stations were also experiencing the same.

“We have seen and heard reports in many stations that people are being turned away because they cannot be identified biometrically. You find the elderly who are usually at polling stations very early still hanging around until late because their names are not found in the register and some give up the whole process,” she said.

She urged the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to instruct all the returning and presiding officers to allow use of manual registers.

“I want to urge the IEBC Chairman to please make a pronouncement on this matter of manual register so that our elderly are able to cast their votes. Let us be allowed to use the manual register so that we can have every person expressing their right to choose their leaders,” she implored.

Wanga was confident of a win saying that Siku njema huonekana asubuhi (a good day is seen in the morning).

On the other hand, Wanga’s opponent Dr. Evans Kidero who cast his vote at Asumbi polling center within Rangwe Constituency urged voters to exercise their rights in a peaceful manner and shun violence.

By Sitna Omar

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