Sakaja fails to vote as UDA elections kick off to slow start

The United Democratic Alliance (UDA) grassroots party elections began on Friday with mixed results.

At St George’s Primary School polling station in Nairobi, voting started at 9am, but the process of identifying party members proved challenging.

By 11am, only four people had voted and five were unable to vote because the system could not identify them.

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja, who is vying for the Nairobi chairmanship, did not vote because the system rejected him.

At Lenana High School, voters turned up as early as 6am to vote for their candidates, only to be shocked to find that the clerk was not there.

Voters there have expressed their dissatisfaction and called on the party to postpone the election.

“Let the UDA party cancel this election and let us vote later. I came here at 8am but the clerk is not even here,” said Mwangi.

At James Gichuru Primary School in Embakasi North Constituency, voting started at 9am, with various voters being asked to produce identification documents before voting.

However, some voters complained that their details were not recorded on the machines, even though they had registered as party members.

“I am surprised that my name is missing but I had registered and even confirmed that my membership is active,” Ms Njeri Kamau told Nation.Africa.

In Busia County, heavy rains and technical problems delayed the start of the elections.

The exercise, which was supposed to start at 9am and end at 5pm, started almost a few minutes before 11am.

And when it started, there were complaints about the machines, with some candidates and voters claiming that some names were missing in the various categories in which they were supposed to vote.

“The process started late, but after six people had voted, we noticed that only one candidate’s name appeared in the seven categories. We have reported the glitch and are waiting for the party’s election committee to issue us with a new set so that we can continue with the exercise,” said John Andenda Ogutu.

In Homa Bay, bad weather delayed the start of the primary elections.

Most members who expected voting to start at 9am were told to wait a little longer as the delivery of voting materials was delayed.

In some areas, the exercise was delayed by at least an hour due to rain.

UDA election board member Halake Diida, who is overseeing the exercise in the county, said party members in the affected centres would be given extra time to vote.

The party had planned to finish the exercise by 5pm.

In Suba South, a truck had broken down and blocked a road.

The party had to hire another vehicle from the opposite side of the road to deliver election materials.

“We used boats to deliver materials to islands in Lake Victoria. But we managed to supply all the stations that were lined up for the exercise,” said Mr Diida.

The UDA has at least 200,000 registered members in Homa Bay, which is among the first five counties to hold the exercise.

Meanwhile, 17,301 candidates are vying for various positions in the Lake Region county.

The county has 402 polling stations. Other counties participating in the staggered elections are Nairobi, Narok, Busia and West Pokot.

Reported by Kevin Cheruiyot, Ndubi Moturi, Rushdie Oudia and George Odiwuor

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