Kenya cancels elections after massive voter turnout

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Kenya has cancelled the primaries election for its ruling party after too many voters turned up, leading to a shortage of materials.

On Friday, reports emerged of problems at the Jubilee nominations with widespread confusion, delays and accusations of vote rigging between opponents. President Uhuru Kenyatta blamed the chaos on an unprecedented large turnout at the event.

 

Turnout sparked chaos

“Primaries usually do not experience the kind of turnout we saw yesterday,” the president said at a press conference on Saturday. He admitted the turnout resulted in a shortage of voting materials, prompting voters to voice their frustration. Some sources report that police shot into the air and used tear gas to disperse crowds of angry voters in Mau Summit and Nakuru Town.

President Kenyatta then moved to cancel all primaries taking place across the country on Friday, saying they will be rescheduled soon. He said his Jubilee Party had underestimated the number of people who would turn up for the nominations, which run in preparation for the presidential election in August.

 

The president also went on to justify his decision to cancel the nominations and called on people to move on from the incident.

“We want our results to reflect the true will of the people and that is why we cancelled the nominations,” he said in another Tweet, followed by “Let us avoid pointing fingers.”

 

Look ahead to August

The premiers fiasco comes as the country gears up to host national elections in August, almost a decade after election violence killed more than 1,00o people during the 2007-08 polls. The following elections passed in 2013 with a handful of casualties, which is considered relatively peaceful in Kenya these days.

There were sporadic outbreaks of violence in other parts of the country, too, including polls for the Orange Democratic Movement in western Kenya. Early signs suggest the wait for peaceful elections could continue by the time ballots open in August.

 

Featured image: By Kiprutokelvin – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52497139

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.