Voting closes early in Nambale as youths destroy ballot boxes

Thursday October 26 2017

Youths in Kibera, Nairobi

Youths in Kibera, Nairobi, throw stones at police as they opposed the repeat presidential election on October 26, 2017. A similar situation was witnessed in Nambale, Busia County where polling stations closed as early as 1pm after chaos erupted. PHOTO | TONY KARUMBA | AFP 

By SYLVESTER MUKELE

A number of polling stations in Nambale Constituency, Busia County were forced to close as early as 1pm after chaos erupted. At the same time many others witnessed very low voter turnout.

At Mabunge Primary School, extra police officers were called to back up their colleagues who had been overpowered by a group of youths who stormed the centre and ran away with ballot boxes before burning them on the road just outside the school compound.

The youths, who were later subdued after the arrival of additional police officers using tear gas, also pinned a warning on the gate of the school reading ‘Vote at your own risk’.

The presiding officers at the centre, which had two polling stations, refused to talk to journalists saying they were not in a position to comment on the matter.

CAUGHT BY SURPRISE

One of the residents who witnessed the incident said a group of youths numbering about 100 came from the neighbouring Butula Constituency and broke into the compound where they caught the police by surprise before doing the destruction.

A clerk who spoke on condition of anonymity said the youths managed to seize the voting materials from one of the stations leaving the other station unaffected.

“They came abruptly through the fence and in large numbers, scared the two police officers who were manning the centre before running away with the ballot boxes,” he said.

After calm had returned, the station was closed and ballots escorted by a team of four police officers to the constituency tallying centre at Kisoko.

The same scenario was witnessed in Maolo and Lwanyange polling centres.

This forced the officers to close the centres before 2pm.

In other parts of the constituency, turnout was too low, a situation that made the polling officers to stay idle.

There were no incidences in these areas, though.


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