Voting began yesterday (Saturday) in the first section of Kenya's crucial three stage general election.?
Voting began yesterday (Saturday) in the first section of Kenya's crucial three stage general election. The voting, which will return members to the lower house of Parliament, is taking place in 16 constituencies.
The election has been caused by the resignations of several prominent politicians who resigned form the ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU) last April and later lost their Parliamentary seats. Among those standing for re-election is the former vice-president, Mr. Oginga Odinga, whose resignation from KANU sparked off the political crisis.
The first stage of the three part election is continuing today but the votes will not be counted until all three stages of the electoral contest are over on June 26th. The Government claims that this is necessary on public safety grounds but the opposition Kenya Peoples Union (KPU) of Mr. Odinga argues that keeping the ballot boxes for a fortnight might be more of a security risk. The ballot boxes are to be placed in a sealed store with a round-the-clock armed guard.
Although the voting started quietly there was a clash between youths of the KANU and KPU parties yesterday in which four people were injured. Last night, Kenya's Minister of Power and Communications, Mr. Ngala Mewndwa received head injuries in an election scuffle. The minister is reported to have fired pistol shots in the air to disperse a crowd which attacked his car.