Polling stations more in NASA strongholds, IEBC list shows

3D ballot box with Kenyan flag photo:courtesy

Areas considered Opposition strongholds have more polling stations than perceived Jubilee zones.

This according to a list of polling stations published by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Coast, Western, Nyanza and Ukambani regions, which are seen as friendly to the National Super Alliance (NASA), have a total of 17,000 polling stations compared to Mt Kenya and Rift Valley regions, which have 15,000 polling stations.

According to the IEBC list, Starehe Constituency in Nairobi has the highest number of polling stations (253), followed by Ruiru (240) and Mbooni in Makueni County (238).

Other constituencies with a high number of polling stations are Alego Usonga (206), Chuka/Igambang'ombe (225), Kinango (212), Mwingi North (223) and Manyatta (226).

Those with the lowest include Lamu East (45) and Banissa in Mandera County (53).

The list was published 34 days to the election, and just days after NASA claimed that IEBC had set up secret polling stations to help the ruling Jubilee party win the poll. The electoral agency has dismissed the allegations.

The Wafula Chebukati-led body will, however, be asked to explain the geographical formula for distribution of polling stations, after the list showed that some regions with the same number of voters had huge disparities in the number of polling stations allocated by IEBC.

For example, Machakos Town Constituency with 109,877 voters has 213 polling stations, while Kieni in Nyeri County, which has an almost equal number of voters (109,001), has 227 polling stations.

Similarly, Maara Constituency in Tharaka Nithi County with 68,729 voters has 182 polling stations, while Jomvu constituency in Mombasa County has only 109 polling stations, yet registered voters in the constituency stand at 69,307.

The election agency has set up 103 polling stations across the country's prisons, with Kamiti Maximum Prison registering the highest number of voters at 160.

Others are Naivasha Main Prison (236 voters) and Kisumu Main Prison at 206.

IEBC has capped the number of voters per polling station at a maximum of 700, in accordance with the Electoral Laws Act passed in Parliament last year.

The number was initially set at 500 before Parliament made changes that were bitterly opposed by the Opposition.

"For the purposes of providing efficient and effective conduct of elections, the number of voters per polling station shall not exceed seven hundred," reads section 16 of the Elections Laws Act.

The electoral agency has gazetted 40,883 polling stations which will be used by 19 million voters in 290 constituencies across the country.

The polling station has assumed additional significance in the 2017 election after the county of appeal ruled two weeks ago that results announced at the constituency level shall be final, stripping IEBC of power to alter the results at the national tallying centre.

Results signed by agents at the polling stations will be relayed to the constituency tallying centres before the final announcement is made by the constituency returning officers.