SECTIONS

I have voted in every election since independence, says granny

Emily Kalya, 91, turned up to vote at St Francis Cheptarit Primary School polling centre in Chesumei, Nandi county. [Edward Kosut, Standard]

Former first Nandi Senator Gerald Kalya's mother Emily Kalya turned up to cast her vote at St Francis Cheptarit Primary School polling centre.

At 91, Mrs Kalya was brought by her son and in spite of her age, she walked behind her walker. She also said she has voted in every election since 1963 when Kenya got independence.

"Many things have changed compared to our youthful days. People have the freedom to elect their leaders according to the Constitution that endowed them with democracy to choose who to govern," she said.

She reminisced about the post-colonial period, in which she claimed there were no sophisticated election procedures, noting that leaders were essentially elected through acclamation, appointment or mlolongo.

She further acknowledged the fact she was probably one of the oldest voters among a majority of the voters at this year's General Election.

"Most of the voters I saw are my children and grandchildren, but age doesn't disadvantage me from fulfilling my civic duty. I'm proud of seeing them electing their leaders based on their development records," she said.

She was assisted in ticking the ballot papers against her preferred leaders, whom she said she has known since the political campaigns started.

"I can read and understand the current affairs, and many people might wonder if I know those I should vote for. But I had my own candidates we met in many occasions and I liked their political agenda for this country and our children," she affirmed.

However, Mrs Kalya said for years she has been participating in elections she has realised some development and urged the young generation to only elect leaders who are development oriented.

Wilson Kalya, Mrs Kalya's son, said her mother has never missed any election, and she has been so concerned with politics and community development.

"She cannot walk, but she insisted she should elect leaders of her choice, and I had to bring her to vote," he said.

Mr Kalya said her mother is a patriot and trusts the leaders she votes for.

In Trans Nzoia, Fred Omusee, who is living with disability, is a happy person after he was assisted to vote at Kitale's Railway polling station.

Omusee said it was hectic to crawl and enter the polling station. "Because of my physical challenges, making it to the polling station was hectic, but I managed, and I'm happy that I have cast my vote," Omusee told The Standard.

He said the IEBC officials allowed him to vote instead of queuing like other voters.

"It is a privilege for me to be allowed to vote without queuing. I thank officials for the favour," said Omusee.

He urged IEBC to consider establishing special polling stations to cater for people with disability.

"There is need for IEBC to create special polling stations for people with disability. This will provide us with a friendly environment," said Omusee.

At Racecourse, Jael Olmunai, 100, appealed for peaceful coexistence during and after the elections. Ms Olmunai said it was the right of every individual to vote.

She said she has participated in elections during the tenures of presidents Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel arap Moi, Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru Kenyatta.