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Five surprising things that will happen on Election Day

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Kenyans will wake up to vote for their preferred candidates on August 8. The country has over 40,000 polling stations which need to be managed well to get the best possible output from the elections.

Plans are underway from stakeholders to ensure that the General Election is free, fair and peaceful. Some of the stakeholders include the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, political observers and most crucial being the citizens.

Citizens will wake up to a few surprises during the election period which include:

1. There will be 180,000 security officers in the 40, 883 polling stations

This will be the largest deployment ever witnessed in the history of elections. The Kenya Police Administration Police and the General Service Police are usually the ones tasked with the duty of guarding the polling stations against any type of violence.

However, this time round, the Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Forestry Service rangers will also be on duty to help deliver a safe and secure environment for Kenyans to exercise their democratic right to vote.

RELATED: Don’t spoil your vote: A Step by step guide on voting 

Annual leaves for officers will be cancelled to ensure the available officers are enough to ensure that they help in guarding the 19.6 million citizens projected to vote in the forthcoming elections.

The increase in security officers is necessitated by the fact that the number of polling stations has also nearly doubled following the enactment of the Elections Act, which requires that no polling station shall have more than 700 voters.

2. The special kit used to identify voters may not fail as witnessed in the last election

A vote of confidence on the special kit used to identify voters has been put across by stakeholders.

“The kit has been used for voter verification for the whole month without hitches,” said Mrs. Roseline Akombe, IEBC Commissioner.

She also said that officers to handle the kit have been trained and that the burden lies with the Communication Authority. The authority responded by saying that they have provided sufficient technological infrastructure for Internet service providers including Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom to build the technology to efficiently transmit results.

3. Internet will be up and running

There has been reports among individuals that internet will be shut down thus access to social media will be unavailable.

Director General Communication Authority, Mr Francis Wangusi, has come out to deny the reports doing rounds on social media. “The Internet will be running smoothly so that the public enjoys the service, but those who intend to misuse it to spread hate are strongly warned that they will be dealt with,” he warned.

Related: Govt could shut down internet during elections

He also warned that those who operate Facebook parody accounts and run websites that impersonate other people and institutions that they risk being shut down if they use their anonymity to incite the public.

4. Media will not be allowed to declare results before the IEBC

There has been a predominant norm by media stations to declare results before the IEBC declares results. However, Mr. Wangusi cautioned media houses against publishing and announcing results before IEBC does so.

“We have allocated some rights to some media houses to have their own tallying centers, they should, however, note that it is an offence to declare results before IEBC,” he said, citing the Election Offences Act.

 5. Social media hate mongers will be under watch

Lately, there has been a lot of hate in social media propagated by a couple of individuals inclined to a certain political party. These posts by individuals may escalate political tension leading to post election violence if not moderated.

This led to the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to list 176 social media groups propagating hate speech in the country. A step has been taken to shut them down and warn social media users against any hate mongering.

“We are coming for them and let them be warned,” said Mr. Kaparo. He described some social media users as “terrible people” and the recent heckling of politicians as “stupid and outdated” as every Kenyan has a right to be heard anywhere in the country.


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