There was tension at the Barani Secondary school vote tallying centre in Malindi constituency over six abandoned ballot boxes and the alleged switching of others.

Regular and General Service Unit (GSU) officers had to move in and force politicians out of the tallying hall amid protests and alleged plans to steal votes.

Trouble started at about 4.30 am when six ballot boxes were noticed to have been abandoned after the tallying exercise was about to come to an end.

The presiding officer what had brought the boxes had apparently become tired and left to rest. She had to be traced to where she had gone to since she had switched off her phone, but when she arrived, she only identified four of the boxes and disowned two.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officials, with the help of police officers, traced the ‘missing’ boxes among those that had already been tallied and replaced them with the ones the presiding officer had disowned.

However, the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) chief agent, Pastor Elvis Makanga, questioned the move, saying it was not proper to tally the stray boxes since they had already been tallied.

IEBC officials, led by county returning officer Mwanajuma Ali, suspended the tallying exercise till about 7.30 am when the exercise resumed, but Pastor Makanga renewed his protests and another allegation that six other boxes had been left unmanned.

The returning officer however explained to the agents, observers and journalists that the two boxes that had been disowned had properly been accounted for and that the alleged abandoned six boxes had in fact been tallied but kept apart from the others due to congestion in the room occasioned by rain outside.

She then proceeded to announce results from the boxes that had earlier been abandoned, forcing the chief agent to call the UDA Parliamentary Candidate, Mr. Daniel Chai Chiriba, to go to the centre to try and resolve the matter.

Chiriba alias Bonyeza, accompanied by the Pamoja African Alliance (PAA), the party’s candidate for Ganda ward, Mr. Abdulrahman Mohamed and his Malindi Ward counterpart, Mr. David Kadenge Dadu (PAA), stormed the tallying centre to demand answers,

They were later joined by PAA candidate for the Kilifi Woman Representative post Christine Zawadi Fondo and escalated the shouting match between the aggrieved parties on the one hand and IEBC and other agents on the other.

Malindi Sub County Commander John Kemboi and his officers calmed the charged politicians down to allow IEBC officials to give them the correct position and when the politicians and their agents refused to listen, she suggested that they obtain their A-series forms from their agents and confirm whether all the boxes in the tallying hall conformed with the details on the forms.

The politicians could hear nothing of this and continued shouting, forcing the GSU officers to be called in and escort the politicians out of the hall.

However, Zawadi caused more drama when she refused to get out and instead sat on the flow, daring the officers to touch her. Kemboi had to persuade her to sit on a chair before she willingly walked out of the and addressed journalists.

Speaking to journalists inside the tallying hall, Ms Ali explained that all the ballot boxes had been accounted for and refuted claims that there were attempts to rig the polls in the constituency.

She said the tallying exercise had been completed successfully and that IEBC staff would tabulate the results, complete the B-series of forms and officially announce the result within three to four hours.

Zawadi and Kadenge called for fairness in the exercise called for the suspension of the exercise in order to resolve pending issues.

Kilifi ODM gubernatorial candidate Gideon Mung’aro urged the IEBC to expedite the tallying of results in order to reduce tension in the county and the entire nation.

By Treeza Auma

Treeza Auma is a Digital Content Producer and founder of KTMN She is also Television journalist at Kenya News Agency and Leadership Accelerator at Women in News.

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