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Election Day Report (The Vote)

I voted this morning at Madaraka Primary School.

It was my first time voting in a national election, having been out of the country in 1997 and 2002. It was a very empowering process – especially in this election that is going to be a tight one.

Despite turning up at 6:15 am turnout was already crazy. I’m really curious to see what the turnout will be overall because the few polling stations I visited in Lang’ata had an incredible turnout. When talking to guys in the line in Mada, they said they’ve never seen anything like this.

Observations from the day:

– Ballot papers were not on site like they are supposed to be. They only got delivered at 8:00 am, leading to lots of agitation among the crowd that had turned up early to vote. The crowd finally broke the gate into the school and rushed in (me included otherwise I’d still be in the line) after getting tired of waiting. Once that happened temperatures came down. Apparently many stations in Nairobi and especially Lang’ata did not start voting until around 9:00 am.

– Once inside the school, things were very chaotic. There was no one directing you on where to go and since you voted according to your last name’s initials it was a unneccessarily maddening process trying to figure out which classroom you should go to and then you have to line up again.

– There was lots of camaraderie and good humor in the line. Something very social about voting, which I didn’t expect. People also expressed their determination to vote no matter how long they had to stand in line. No one was wearing any party insignia or logos. There was also heavy tension in the air – any hint of something shady and the crowd could have lynched guys.

– Turnout. Turnout. Turnout. This election will come down to that. Several people told me that this was the first time they had voted since the 90s – this is definitely an election of high stakes.

– Youth – I’d say about 80% of the line were guys who were 40 years old and younger (very impressed by the number of guys in their 20s that I saw). 2012 will be about this demographic, there’s no two ways about that. Especially if they turnout in big numbers.

– Something else that is not getting a lot of play, especially in the international media, which is focused on the ethnicity issue is the parliamentary elections. Voters really want to send a message to MPs – we are watching you , we are tired of your antics and we are going to use our vote to let you know how we feel. A number of guys told me that they are there to vote because if they don’t vote then they have nothing to complain about when the leaders mess up. It’s great to see a culture of accountability developing.

– Quote of the morning: “Nimelewa lakini nikona kura kwa mfuko.” Boozed guy coming to vote straight from the bar.

8 comments to Election Day Report (The Vote)

  • BelegueredIvyLeaguer


    Thanks for the updates! Hebu keep it coming whenever you are able to.
    Clearly concerned about the late ballots and the long lines. It will be interesting to see how this plays across the land, especially since there is already a cloud of suspicion (fairly or unfairly).
    I love that the youth are out en masse and share your enthusiasm for this. It really is remarkable that they are now genuine stakeholders.
    small QUESTION: The last minute appointment of judges to the court of appeal. What is your opinion on this? From where I am sitting, it looks like Bush v. Gore redux, with the court stacked in case there is an election appeal. Is that just my imaginative mind going too far or is this the unspoken unease among the civil society community?
    Finally, may the elections be peaceful.

    Warm Regards from Boston

  • Ms K

    Hey you fellow first-time voter!!! Man, I felt so powerful in that 30 seconds!! Wish I could bottle that, and sniff it very sloooowly over the next five years!!!

    People power!!

    (Obviously I’m a bit delirious from my power high!)

  • Vince

    Thanks for the updates from the ground.. What is this we are hearing about Raila’s name and other people whose names start with O and R were missing from the election lists? I am told it’s been rectified but how could that have happened. Its 8.24 AM in Washington DC but strange enough most guys never slept. They kept the lines open with folks in Kenya. Keep us updated on the outcome.

  • Mwari

    Good to read updates from someone on the ground! It is encouraging to hear and read that Kenyans have finally woken up from their slamber.(hopefully) It is not just about enriching individuals who get into parliament. People want results and they want them now.

    Finally, may the best man win. I want to believe that at this stage in kenyan history, neither Raila nor Kibaki has a wicked plan in mind. I want to believe that they each have a good plan for kenya. And whatever the case, 2012 is just around the corner.
    God bless Kenya

  • Lemayian


    Thanks for the on the ground and first-hand account of the voting. Kenyans have always proved time and time again to be resilent and social – hence the patience despite late ballot arrivals and the humor that you found among voters as they lined-up. I echo the same sentiments on the MPs – there has not been a lot of talk – but I think voters this time around, thanks to insight from avenues like mzalendo, now know that some of their MPs are just ‘bure’ and are going to let the vote reflect that.

    God bless Kenya and I hope to vote in 2012 – like you said, it is
    empowering! Safe holidays and safe elections.

  • Na sikia aibu kua Mkenya

    Mark Rubia, guy who caused on Citizen TV for been unable to vote…. now am happy i didnt take part in that SHAM!

  • […] Kenyan Pundit placed an interesting blog post on Election Day Report (The Vote)Here’s a brief overview […]

  • […] blogger, Kenyan Pundit, writes her observations of the election day: ‘Ballot papers were not on site like they are supposed to be. They only got delivered at […]