To Do Ones Duty & A Long Wait.


Monday 4 March had finally arrived the day that had so eagerly been awaited and talked about; every political move whether big or small was analysed and reanalysed and the polls no longer really mattered. On Monday the country took their fate into their own capable minds with many waking at dawn – with some rising even before the sun and the cocks crowed- they were eager to do what they’d signed up for , queued for and in some cases waited- for their ID’s- longer than most for.

We woke up and rushed to the polls forsaking our beds, cutting short our sweet dreams and skipping breakfast all to be one of the first in line; the objective being to be in and out as quickly as humanly possible. This would have been the case if technology did not fail most all clerks in their hours of need. This forced them to revert to manual voting and this was admittedly much slower.

Before one was able to access the tents under which the officials were stationed however they had to queue-some for hours- and although this is nothing new some stations like the one from which I cast my vote in the suburb of Nyali in the sunny coastal city of Mombasa was devoid of any officials when I arrived at about 6:00-6:30. We stood around chatting to friends and in my case Tweeting and Facebook for another hour/ half hour or so until the clerks and other officials arrived sometime around 7 – with their materials. This was an anomaly as they were to have arrived much earlier in order to official open the station and sort out how they were going to conduct the whole exercise i.e: if they were going to ask people to line up according to their first or last names, set up their kits and ensure that the computers are in working order.

As none of this was done a relatively easy exercise became a noisy and confusing mess with voters being told first that we were to line up according to last name only to get to that side of the ground – quite a walk and be told that we need to line up based on the first three letters of our first name- this undoubtedly angered more than a few people.
After that was sorted out the officials got set up and the voting process began first with a checking of ID’s to the picture and name in the stations log. The voter was the handed 6 stamped ballot papers each of a different colour with a bin of the corresponding colour. That process in and of itself was thankfully speedy.

After we had done our duty we dashed for the relatively cooler indoors, not wanting to be outside longer than necessary and eager to begin what would be a long drawn out waiting period to find out what we’d done. We’re still waiting.

Patience is not a strong suit of many a Kenyan myself included-I hate anything that to do with waiting around for long periods of time. This is a lesson in patience for all Kenyans as most spend their time with their hearts in their mouths worrying, which leads them to their TV sets or radio’s: not wanting to miss even a moment.

With any elections come the eyes of the world, as transfixed as the citizens to the goings on around the country. By nature journalists are pessimists by nature due to bearing witness to so much that is wrong with the world. So when we trooped to the polls on Monday the international press recalled our recent history and readied themselves to see not only the best but the worst too. Now there’s nothing wrong with a history lesson or refresher course but when that dominates the broadcasts it invites rebuke from the citizens. To these journalists and more importantly news networks the question on the lips of most Kenyans is: What happened to remaining objective?

The Presidential Candidates as well as the IEBC,  and members of the clergy too have consistantly plead for peace before, during and after the elections. The IEBC and other organizations have also played their part to ensure peace this time around with adverts emphasizing the need to be peaceful.

What happened to objectivity? As we continue to wait for the final results to come in we are determined to remain peaceful and above all patient.

Thankfully as of 13:25 the IEBC announced the first official results; but they have not clarified if they are pulling the provisional results and displaying only the official votes. As the electronic transmission has collapsed this process will be done manually making it harder for those watching the numbers to first make sense of them then add them up. This is the price of democracy!

We finally have some much needed clarity on the tallying of these elections.
 As of 19.20 today in another update to Kenyans the IEBC chairman stated that the commission had officially abandoned the electronic vote gathering system, Hassan was also at pains to make it clear that Safaricom-who provided all the election officials with phones and internet broadband technology- were in no way responsible for the delays and difficulties experienced by the commission in relaying results.
 The Chairman also pleaded with Kenyans to keep the peace and thanked us for our patience. He also said that he and his team would do their best to get us the results by Friday but he also said that the law allows the commission until Monday at the latest to do this.
 
As it is with many a national election there have been discontent and questions even implications, it is no different with this one and as always the body doing the math and conducting the elections will come under fire in the form of scrutiny from both the citizens and the politicians themselves.
This pressure cooker type atmosphere has been firmly turned on underneath the IEBC and its Chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan have been the subject of complaint and much moaning in the past few days. Including a claim from Kalonzo Musyoka that the results had been doctored, he added that the counting should thus be stopped. To which Mr. Hassan replied that they had not.
 
Throughout the process the Chairman has looked un phased by the chatter working and insisting that patience is of the utmost importance acknowledging that the process will be long, saying that the process is not as simple as receiving papers and adding up numbers and that is why it’s taking longer than first thought.Two of the 8 candidates have removed themselves from the race: Peter Kenneth and Musalia Mudavadi. The both pledged to work with whoever shall win the most coveted post in the land.They also urged people to maintain peace.
As of 13.10 Friday 8: The hunt for the 50% +1 votes is still on with the winner still unknown with 226 of 291 constituencies having reported to the election nerve center that is the Bomas of Kenya and with result coming in faster than before the fat lady has not sung her last song. Kenya waits.
 
 

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