At exactly 5:15am Kigali time (6:15am Kenyan time), the first Kenyan national living in Rwanda cast his vote in the East African country’s presidential elections.
Kenyans living in Rwanda are exercising their civic rights at the country’s High Commission in Kacyiru sector where by 9am, around 70 voters had already cast their vote.
The general elections in Kenya are for the President, county governor, senator, Member of Parliament, woman representative and member of county assembly.
Catherine Koskey, the presiding officer for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) at the embassy told The New Times that voters are turning up in numbers and the process has not registered any problem so far.
“We have more than 800 registered voters in Rwanda and we have two IEBC desks here at the High Commission. It’s quite okay; Kenyans are turning up in good numbers and our officers are also set, we have not had any hitch so far,” Koskey said.
She added that IEBC vote educators were in Rwanda earlier and Kenyans in Rwanda were told what was expected of them as they visited different Kenyan communities at the Mount Kenya University (MKU) and the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).
“We are closing 4pm Rwanda time; that is 5pm in Kenya. As soon as we close the station we start counting. If there are a number of people after four and we have a queue, we can’t chase them away because they have to vote. So whatever time they will clear the queue, we start counting,” she emphasized.
Eugene Anangwe, a Kenyan journalist living in Rwanda had voted by 7:30 and says that the process was very exciting.
“The exercise is smooth as we speak; in terms of checking the names on the list, the biometrics and then the instructions of what you need to do when you’re voting,…it’s very smooth; and we except that everything will go on very well,” Anangwe said.
He added that it would be unfair to compare the Kenyan election to Rwanda’s as they all have their own uniqueness when it comes to the different concerns.
APR Basketball Coach, Cliff Owour who is also Kenyan; is among the voters that were queuing in the early morning. He says the process was great as he exercised his constitutional right for the second time in Rwanda.
“It’s amazing that the region has become a little bit so small in the sense I should be able now to vote even when you’re in a country like Rwanda. Actually we’ve been receiving a lot of briefs of television to see the proceeding back in Kenya. We are already educated on what to do,” Owour says.
He called on Kenyans back at his home country to emulate Rwanda’s case where last Friday polls went on incident free.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, 55, from Jubilee party is seeking a second and final five-year term in office and faces stiff competition from an opposition coalition (NASA) led by veteran politician Raila Odinga, 72.
Also on the list of candidates are six other independent candidates.