You are here  » Home   » Nyanza

Kenya’s longest ballot paper has voters scratching their heads

By Erick Abuga | Published Tue, August 8th 2017 at 20:10, Updated August 8th 2017 at 22:50 GMT +3
Chitago Borabu ward had one of the longest and widest ballot papers which accommodated 33 MCA candidates.

SUMMARY

  • Chitago Borabu ward had one of the longest and widest ballot papers which accommodated 33 MCA candidates.
  • The ballot paper may have been the most complicated voting paper ever printed for an election in Kenya.
  • Voters said it took them time to go through the names so as to choose their candidate.

Kisii, Kenya: In a part of Kisii County sits Chitago Borabu ward which was carved into a sub-county this year.

The General Election showed that the ward had one of the longest and widest ballot papers to accommodate 33 MCA candidates.

ALSO READ: Prisoners in Kisumu excited that they voted

Presiding officers agreed this may have been the most complicated ballot paper ever printed for an election in Kenya.

The two-column ballot paper posed a major headache for poll officials trying to manage 33 agents representing the candidates in each of the sub-county's 22 polling stations.

This means poll officials were to deal with approximately 726 agents.

"We only allowed one agent for every party. We agreed and everything went on peacefully," said Jacob Mogere, the presiding officer at Makara Primary School polling station.

The ballot paper also had voters scratching their heads on where to mark to indicate their preferred candidate.

One voter said going through the list was akin to going through study notes.

"It took us time to go through the names. It was rather confusing. I almost ticked the wrong candidate," said John Mbaka.

The high number of candidates seeking MCA positions has sparked debate in the area.

ALSO READ: Missing ballot papers delays voting in Nakuru Town East Constituency

Whereas some feel it means that the MCA seat has become more lucrative, others say it was too long for voters to go through during the polls and that this could affect the final results for some candidates.

They said subjecting voters to the lengthy ballot paper was unnecessary.

"It was a challenge for most voters who did not wish to go through the entire ballot paper. It will be no shock if many votes are declared spoilt," said lawyer Phillemon Onchwangi.

Conceding that the high number of MCA candidates may be a clear sign of an expanding democratic space and quest for better leadership, the lawyer also argued that some of the candidates did not have a chance to campaign but simply wanted to appear on the ballot.

In the neighbouring Monyerero ward, 27 candidates were vying for MCA positions. In total, South Mugirango, where Chitago Borabu ward is located, had 91 candidates - the highest in the county.


RECOMMENDED