Election Watch : Report 4

InformAction by InformAction

ElectionWatch Report #4


InformAction June 2017

with Kura Yangu, Sauti Yangu

Introduction and Key Findings

Kenya’s political parties held chaotic and violent primary contests around the country from 13 April to 1 May.  The stakes proved to be very high: pursuing victory in the primary contest can be almost as important as contesting the general election, particularly where parties dominate specific geographical zones. Victory in the primaries can be a virtual guarantee of success in the general election.

Tensions began over disorderly registration and voting processes, and escalated when Kenyan political parties did not respect the outcome of some of their own elections. Some parties announced conflicting results in certain races.  The lack of integrity was also reflected in the fact that the level of voter bribery made the process an open market place; people voted for the multiple parties that paid them. Disturbing, also, was the apparent acceptance of a chaotic and violent electoral environment, with little attempt by the government to properly manage it, or prosecute offenders. IFA observers noted that there was a high level of public anger, particularly among those prevented from voting.

By the time the party primaries had ended, 63 people had been arrested, many were injured, and at least two people lost their lives.[1] More than 300 cases were filed before the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal, challenging the conduct of the polls and the lack of internal democracy.

Key Findings

  • Chaos, violence and intimidation marred the primaries, including burning of ballots and attacks by rival aspirants.
  • The presence of security forces and their use of intimidating tactics, as well as population displacement in Northern Kenya seriously depressed voter turnout, notably in Samburu, Laikipia and Isiolo.
  • Voter bribery was the norm. People typically voted for the aspirants and parties that paid them, often voting in multiple party primaries.  
  • Public confidence in registration is extremely low, and the lack of an updated, reliable register was a primary cause of tension during the primary contests.
  • IFA observers were threatened and harassed, resulting in some filing police complaints.


InformAction is accredited with media and election observer status. It has been systematically monitoring the election cycle for the August 8 2017 General Election since May 2016.

IFA utilizes eight established field teams embedded in Isiolo (Northern Kenya); Kakamega (Western); Kericho (South Rift); Kisii (Western Nyanza), Kisumu (Nyanza), Maralal (Northern Kenya); Mombasa (Coast Region); and, Nyeri (Central). It also does spot checks in Nairobi. The teams use a combination of systematic and spot-checking observations, including video documentation and photography.

Observers use qualitative methods based on interviews, observations and document analysis, using stratified and random sampling, monitoring the experiences and actions of voters, election officials and security personnel, as well as any other actors or participants involved in the electoral process, during the pre-election, election and post-election periods. During monitoring, teams use social media internally to coordinate movements and relay and compare findings. Legal advice and research services are available to the observers at all times. The field teams also benefit from their extensive local knowledge and networks in the counties (see www.informAction.tv)

InformAction observers witness and document the application of constitutional standards and election regulations.

The filming, participation and consultation of individuals in this report was done with their full cooperation and consent. To prevent unauthorised access, maintain responsible data usage, and ensure the correct use of information, InformAction has obscured or removed images of documents relating to personal identification details.


A party primary is the process through which political parties select candidates who will represent the party during the general elections.  See www.InformAction.tv for further information on primaries held in Kenya and globally.

Primaries in Kenya

Kenya has been holding primaries since the early days of its independent history, but they have rarely been truly democratic processes. Beginning as early as 1988, when the Kenya African National Union (KANU) party held open party primaries, these contests were often characterized by patronage and cronyism; ordinary party members had little power to determine candidates.[2]

When multi-party democracy was re-introduced in 1992, Kenya’s new parties also held primary contests. Unfortunately, state sponsored ethnic violence featured in both the 1992 and 1997 party primaries.[3] Since that time, primary processes have not improved significantly; primaries are regularly plagued by allegations of violence, fraud, rigging, and mismanagement.[4] In fact, by 2002, violence, fraud, and biased selection of candidates by party leaders were characteristic features of Kenyan party primaries.[5] In order to save costs and avoid the logistical challenges associated with conducting primaries, smaller political parties have often chosen to use direct nominations.[6] Although direct nominations fail to empower party members, they reduce chances of intra-party conflict.[7]

During the 2013 party primaries in Kenya, 12,400 aspirants vied for 1,882 elective positions. Pursuant to amendments to the Election Act in 2012 and 2013, political parties were required to submit their party lists to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) 45 days before elections.[8] In order to prevent party-hopping, the majority of parties held their primaries just one day before the deadline. This decision made it difficult to secure polling stations and to hold representative primaries. In some cases, voting did not take place at all.[9]

The decision to hold primaries at the last minute also drastically reduced the time available to resolve disputes arising from the primaries. This affected the preparedness of the IEBC, which received incorrect and incomplete lists of aspirants. These errors led to incorrectly printed ballot papers.[10] Only six of the 59 registered political parties presented their nomination lists to IEBC before the deadline.[11] IEBC extended the deadline for submission of party lists from 18 to 21 January, in contravention of the electoral law.[12]

Overall, the 2013 party primaries were criticized for poor preparation, inexperienced officials, lateness in arrival of voting materials, delays in vote counting, allegations of rigging[13] and side-lining of women and other disadvantaged groups. IEBC received 207 election complaints, 26 of which were from female candidates; 47 decisions were appealed to the High Court.[14]

In many cases, women were side-lined because political parties viewed the 47 reserved Women’s Representatives seats as sufficient for the purposes of gender parity. Many officials felt that women should simply focus on those seats instead of vying for other elective positions.[15]  

Primaries in Kenya in 2017

The 2017 political party primaries were scheduled to take place between 13 April and 26 April, 2017. After the Malindi High Court ruled that the IEBC had unfairly shortened the legal timeline for parties’ submission of candidates, however, the IEBC extended the period through 1 May.

As is detailed below, the primary contests have been marked by parties’ serious disorganization, multiple delays, numerous allegations of fraud and rigging and pockets of violence. In fact, diplomats from several countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, the European Union, Nordic countries, and Japan signed a joint statement calling the primaries a disappointment to Kenyans. The statement also expressed foreign delegations’ concerns about “serious organizational challenges and allegations of improprieties” as well as “unacceptable acts of violence and intimidation.”[16] So far, the Director of Public Prosecution has charged 62 individuals with offenses related to the primaries, including voter bribery and incitement of violence.[17]

Parties focused on efficient dispute resolution. Judiciary tribunals hearing cases received complaints from the Orange Democratic Movement, Wiper Democratic Movement, the Party of National Unity, Jubilee Party and Amani National Congress. Political parties also created their own tribunals, which heard hundreds of cases.

In the aftermath of the shambolic 2017 primaries, 4,950 candidates have opted to run for elective posts as independent candidates - a drastic increase from 2013, when there were 350 independent aspirants. The majority of the independents defected from their political parties after decrying the conduct of the party primaries.[18]

Section 1

This section provides regional summaries of IFA observations of party primaries, listed by field base.       

Northern Kenya: Maralal Field Base











‘Bullets not Ballots.’ Security Operations stop nominations in Baringo. Click image to watch video clip.

The IFA team in Maralal observed primaries in Samburu and Baringo counties, where primaries were conducted in the shadow of a government security operation. This operation affected voting in parts of Samburu, Laikipia and Baringo, with many polling stations located within the gazetted security zones. The operation led to displacement of persons and low voter turnout in the areas where voting did occur.

Critically, the Administration Police’s Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU) was involved in the destruction of residents’ property in search of weapons. The violence exacerbated inter-community border disputes. It was noted that police and security forces were largely staffed by members of the Tugen community, and the affected property belonged to the Pokot community. This was interpreted as a move to further marginalize the Pokot community.

Overall, primaries were limited in scope in this area of the country. In Tiaty, Baringo County, nominations were limited to one party, Jubilee, with locals voting in only two wards. In the two wards, people were restricted to voting for Member of County Assembly (MCA) but not senator, governor or women representative. In Seretion Primary Polling Station in Ribikwo Ward, Tiaty Constituency in Baringo County 38 people voted out of a possible 108.  In Chessos Mobile Polling Station, in the same ward, 15 ballot papers were provided. Voting stations in Tiaty were not supplied with police protection; some people fearful of violence stayed away.  

Cultural discrimination against women was evident in the Jubilee primaries for Samburu North parliamentary seat, with Mercy Lekimain, artist and human rights activist, deemed an outsider for having married a non-Samburu and working with an NGO based in Kajiado County.

Northern Kenya: Isiolo Field Base











‘Fill in the Blanks’. Voters in Meru County vote using blank pieces of paper. Click image to watch video clip.

In Isiolo, the IFA team observed the Party of National Unity (PNU) primaries in Meru County; Jubilee primaries in Meru and Isiolo counties; and, Wiper primaries in Isiolo County. The team identified lack of ballot secrecy, multiple voting and the lack of a verifiable register as some of the most widespread and important problems.

Secret voting was rare. Most polling stations the team visited did not have individual polling booths for voters. Instead, voters marked their ballots in open spaces, and other voters in the polling station were free to watch them make their choices. People were seem filling in voters’ ballots for them. The lack of secrecy was compounded by the lack of actual ballot papers. Voters were asked to write their choices on small manila cards. Illiterate voters received help from others, violating the secrecy of their choice.

Another critical problem was multiple voting. The team witnessed voters who had already cast ballots join other voting queues. This was made possible by the easily erasable ink used to mark voters’ fingers. It was possible for voters to cast ballots in multiple parties’ primary contests. Incidents of multiple voting were witnessed in Mikinduri.

There was voter frustration with parties’ use, or non-use, of the register. Voters were vocal in their dissatisfaction with the lack of a clean, updated register. The Jubilee Party used the 2013 register from the IEBC, but the names of recently registered voters were missing.  

PNU staff did not use any register at all - voters were simply allowed to use national IDs to cast ballots, and party staff recorded their details. Problems with the register were compounded by the lack of proper party membership. IFA observers noted that the parties were issuing membership cards on voting day.

Other problems included the lack of security of materials and ballots; voting by residents from other locations; the presence of politicians at polling stations; and long delays in the opening of polling stations, without time compensation at the end of the day. Voters also expressed frustration with the chaotic management of the timetable, with constantly changing dates and times of primaries. There was poor coverage by the media, which was largely absent, and journalists typically attaching themselves to aspirants.

IFA generally noted that security forces were well controlled in policing the polling. Other encouraging aspects were the significant numbers of women who turned out to vote in these areas. The observers noted that most polling stations gave priority to pregnant and nursing mothers, the sick and the disabled.

Nyanza: Kisii Field Base











‘We will Protest!’ Voters in Kisii and Nyamira protest delays and missing names in ODM/ Jubilee Primaries. Click image to watch video clip.

The IFA Kisii team observed ODM primaries in Nyamira and Kisii; Jubilee Party primaries in Kisii; and KANU primaries in Kisii.

ODM primaries were marked by a lack of preparedness. Due to a lack of staff, five polling stations were merged into one in Township Ward in Nyamira County, with one polling officer on hand for approximately 4,000 registered voters. The party used its own register, and many voters’ names were missing.

At DEB Primary School, missing pages from the register interrupted voting; the time it took to locate missing pages severely delayed the process. The party defended the rejection of the IEBC register on the basis it needed to monitor ODM membership. This is likely because the area is considered a “swing” area, and ODM was attempting to ensure that Jubilee members were not able to vote in ODM contests.

Other organizational problems included the widespread lack of lighting. However, generally, IFA observers noted that the 2017 primaries were better organized than the previous election cycle.

There was high tension during ODM primaries at Nyamokenye Primary School Polling Station, Kisii County. Supporters of an MCA aspirant were angered by the order of a Presiding Officer, who prevented the MCA from voting because of pending integrity issues. The Presiding Officer eventually gave him clearance to vote after deliberations with the ODM Head Office.  The presence of Administration Police, the Kenya Police, Quick Response Team, the Officer Commanding Police Division (OCPD), the Divisional Criminal Investigation Officer (DCIO), and the Divisional Sub-County Commissioner restored calm.

Overall, Jubilee primaries were contentious - largely because voters lined up at polling stations discovered that incumbent governors, senators and members of the National Assembly had been given direct nominations. Voting only took place for MCA races. Only one constituency, South Mugirango, held nominations for members of the National Assembly. This provoked anger, and voters burned ballot boxes and ballot papers. The Presiding Officer (PO) announced the nominations would be repeated in a few days, but the repeat exercise was only conducted for the MCA race. Furthermore, results for the county’s women’s representative were announced despite the fact ballots had been destroyed.

IFA observers also noted inconsistencies in results announcements. Specifically, MCA results announced at the county tallying centre, Itiero Boys County Tallying Centre, were different from those announced at the constituency level, Nyamokenye Primary School Constituency Tallying Centre. MCA nominations had to be repeated in certain areas.

KANU primaries generally proceeded smoothly, with few problems, but turnout was extremely low. The IFA team witnessed a member of staff acting as both clerk and PO.

Nyanza: Kisumu Field Base











‘And The Last Shall Be First.’ Voters frustrated by delays during ODM nominations in Kisumu County.  Click image to watch video clip.

IFA’s Kisumu field base covered ODM party primaries in Kisumu County.

The team noted confusion with regard to use of the register; non-verifiable results; and poor communication with the public as some of the most problematic issues during the primaries.

IFA team members observed inconsistent use of the register, for example in Kenyatta Sports Ground PS, Market Milimani Ward, Kisumu Central Constituency. In some places the IEBC register was used, while in other places the party used its own lists. Onjiko Primary School PS in Ahero Ward in Nyando Constituency was one of the locations where voting was conducted without a voter’s register at all. Instead, clerks simply recorded the name and other personal details of all those who voted. In some locations, voters were not permitted to vote, for example, Kosawo Hall PS, Manyatta “B” Ward, Kisumu Central Constituency. This caused significant tension; protest marches were witnessed in Kisumu Central.

There was a serious lack of transparency with regard to counting, tallying and results announcement. In Kisumu, party officials were extremely secretive about the location of the tallying centre.  Eventually, they announced that tallying would be conducted at Thurdubuoro Secondary School; but when IFA observers reached the location, they found no such centre. ODM continuously changed the supposed location. The IFA team could not find any tallying activity taking place. It is therefore unknown from where the result for Governor of Kisumu, Anyang' Nyong'o, came. Since the incumbent governor had set up his own tallying center at Aga Khan Hall, Kisumu, there were multiple winners announced. In the aftermath of these announcements, the incumbent governor held a peaceful protest to no avail. 

Overall, multiple, differing results caused significant voter disenchantment and suspicion. When Fred Ouda, aspirant for the National Assembly was declared to have lost at the Lions High School, Kisumu Central Constituency, his supporters took to the streets. The pro-Ouda protests were put down with teargas.

Finally, observers noted that ODM changed primary dates without informing the public.   ODM’s National Election Board cancelled its nominations in Kisumu County slated for 24 April and moved them to 25 April, citing security reasons. In many cases, people arrived to vote and found that primaries had been cancelled.

Western: Kakamega Field Base











‘By Invitation Only.’ Voters during ODM primaries in Kakamega frustrated by their missing names and a lack of clarity on who exactly gets to vote. Click image to watch video clip.

IFA field teams covered ODM, ANC, FORD-Kenya and Jubilee party primaries in Kakamega, Bungoma and Vihiga counties. Overall, the team noted serious and widespread technical problems with the register, a general lack of respect for secrecy of the ballot, improperly and/or insufficiently secured ballot boxes, and non-uniform ballot papers.

There were isolated incidents of violence related to primary contests. In Bungoma, an ODM aspirant who sensed impending defeat stormed the Mupeli Primary School Polling Station with rowdy youth and destroyed all materials. Although the presiding officer said the election at that station would have to be postponed, ballot boxes inexplicably appeared at the tallying centre during the evening, indicating fraud.

During the ODM primaries at St. Paul’s Primary School Polling Station in Kakamega County, the incumbent MP was confronted by an angry crowd after he tried to stop the voting. His bodyguard fired a warning shot in the air and the crowd countered by throwing stones at him.

Security was uneven in the region. IFA observers witnessed various security forces, including those from the Administration Police as well as regular police, playing a role in controlling crowds. However, police appeared to be more present and active for the Jubilee Party primaries. For instance, a vigilante group was observed handling security for the Ford Kenya primaries. Voters complained of threats and intimidation from the group.

The lack of voter education was alarming. Most voters did not understand the process, and had little knowledge of the competing candidates. Since some parties did not differentiate ballots for the various positions by color, some voters struggled to comprehend their choices. In cases where ballots only included text and did not have photos of the candidates, illiterate voters were very challenged. In one incident, observers heard an old woman tell polling station clerks that she had been told by prominent officials to vote for certain candidates. She did not have understanding of the process; she appeared to carry out “orders.”

Overall, the IFA team observed that the political parties were weak, suffering from poor internal democracy, uncertain membership and marked lack of organization. In many cases, the party offices appeared to be permanently closed, and it was difficult for observers to locate them. The offices showed little to no evidence of activity. In some cases, party officials created party membership lists at the polling stations, requiring voters to sign membership papers as a condition for voting. Observers also saw people becoming members of multiple parties.

Notably, there appeared to be a disconnect between party officials in Nairobi and those based in the region. IFA observers found that parties’ polling station staff had little information about where materials were being stored and other logistics. In one instance, the local party staff were not informed about the location of the tallying centre until the last minute. Overall, this resulted in intra-party mistrust and the impression that vital information, from the center in Nairobi, was being withheld from field staff.

IFA also noted that political parties are very gender insensitive. There are very few women candidates, other than the legally required women representatives. Party members and staff as well as the public typically treat women aspirants very poorly, with the women frequently experiencing intimidation, violence, humiliation and overt discrimination.

The team also observed low turn out of youth in Kakamega, because they did not feel that the Jubilee Party addressed their issues.  There was a higher turnout of men than women, especially in the morning. Women came to vote in the afternoon but at lower rates.

Central: Nyeri Field Base











‘Tuju, Go Home!’ Voters in the Jubilee Primaries in Kirinyaga, frustrated at delays and missing ballot papers. Click image to watch video clip.

IFA observers in Nyeri observed the Jubilee Party and NARC-Kenya primaries in Kirinyaga County.

In Kirinyaga, the IFA field team noted that overall the primaries were marked by poorly trained and/or untrained polling station staff and a distinct lack of planning. Specifically, the Nyeri team explained that in many cases, POs recruited clerks on the eve of voting day and many of these recruits were personal friends and relatives of the POs.

There was also an issue with multiple voting, which was unchecked. Generally, voting itself went ahead without major problems.

In Kirinyaga, the IFA team noted that polling stations had only a few security officers. Since people were unruly, this lack of security was a problem. By the time Jubilee held its postponed primaries, there was more security.

The IFA team also observed problems with the register. The Jubilee Party was using the 2013 IEBC register, but many voters’ names were not on the list. Those who were not in the register were added by Jubilee staff to the party list in all of the polling stations observed by IFA team, including Kutus Primary and Gakuu Primary School polling stations in Nyangati Ward, and Ngurubani Primary Polling Station in Tebere Ward, all in Mwea Constituency. There was no check to see if voters were party members. At Jubilee Gospel Church Polling Station, Nyangati Ward, Mwea Constituency, NARC-Kenya did not use any register at all.

During their visit to Wang’uru Girls Tallying Center, Tebere Ward, Mwea Constituency, IFA observers also noted that IEBC ballot boxes were used in the Jubilee primaries. Given that the primaries were administered by parties, it was unclear how and why IEBC materials were used.

There was also a problem with multiple voting. The ink used to mark voters’ fingers was not indelible, so people were able to easily erase it.

People also expressed their disenchantment with the process. When there were not enough ballots in the postponed Jubilee primary exercise at Ngurubani Primary Polling Station, Tebere Ward, Mwea Constituency, voters who had been waiting protested. These protests were subdued by police with teargas.

Coast: Mombasa Field Base











‘Missing Persons.’ Voters in Mombasa frustrated by delays and illegible voter registers during the ODM primaries. Click image to watch video clip.

IFA observers covered the Jubilee Party, Orange Democratic Party and Wiper Party primaries in Mombasa County. There were serious issues with ballot papers, confusion over the register, and poor administrative preparedness.

In many cases, voters could not find their names in the registers being used by the parties. The response from party clerks to missing names was very inconsistent. In some cases, those not in the register were not permitted to vote. ODM clerks nevertheless allowed people with membership cards to vote, even if they were not in the register. Observers witnessed one case in which Jubilee Party staff allowed someone whose name did not appear on the register to vote by showing confirmation of his party membership by mobile phone. Yet there were multiple other cases in which those who did possess party membership cards were not permitted to vote. Observers also witnessed voters being allowed to cast ballots just by showing national ID cards.

There were multiple other problems related to the register, but the observers considered the most significant issue to be the incomplete nature of the voters’ list.  This was critical because it meant voters were not able to participate, which led to tension at the polling stations. Parties also appeared to have unequal access to the IEBC’s register. ODM used two lists - a party list and the IEBC register. The Jubilee Party only used a party list. It was unclear which IEBC register was in use.

The lack of preparedness included serious delays in the opening of polling stations. Parties rescheduled their primaries and polling station locations at the last minute.  IFA observers also noted that every polling station they visited during the party primaries opened late. Worryingly, however, polling stations did not stay open to make up for the morning delay. As a result, people waiting in long lines at closing time were disenfranchised. In some cases, police officers forcibly dispersed the lines, including using teargas. In one instance, the crowd retaliated by hurling stones at the police.

Although voting was by secret ballot, IFA observers noted that the exercise was far from private. Presiding officers and party agents assisted many voters, presumed illiterate. Voters also grouped together inside the polling station, advising each other on who to elect.

Finally, there was a disturbing trend of obstruction of election observers. Political party field staff were frequently not willing to cooperate with IFA observers. They refused to provide basic information and typically ‘referred’ IFA observers to the IEBC website, or told them to talk to Nairobi staff.

Overall, the Mombasa primaries monitored did not seem to be a true representation of the people’s wishes. The mess, obstruction and chaos characterizing the primary process clearly frustrated the voters. Tensions were particular high over register issues, especially for those who could not vote because their names could not be located.

The IFA Mombasa team noted the public anger toward political parties – especially where a party demonstrated clear favoritism for certain candidates. This sentiment was particularly pronounced in ODM. This degree of public frustration suggest the ills of the primaries may affect turnout on Election Day, or determine collective response to any indication of similar poor process, irregularities or fraud.

South Rift: Kericho Field Base











‘Nominations in Progress.’ No Journalists Allowed. Chaos during Kericho County Jubilee Nominations. Click image to watch video clip.

In Kericho, IFA covered Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) and Jubilee Party primaries in Bomet and Kericho counties.

Overall, there was concern about the general lack of preparedness among all parties. For example, CCM had no register with which to crosscheck voter identity at the polling stations. Voters were able to use national IDs to vote, and their details were then recorded by party officials. The party also used photocopied ballots, which were not serialized.

Jubilee Party used the 2013 IEBC register, but many voters could not find their names on it. There was also significant tension amongst voters because of insufficient numbers of ballot papers. Voters were suspicious that the lack of ballots was a form of rigging, designed to favor certain candidates. For instance, in Bomet, Jubilee ran out of ballots for women’s representatives by 11:00 a.m. Voters had to wait separately for more ballots to arrive.

The IFA team also noted the frustration of voters over changes in the dates and times of the primaries. In some cases, an announcement of postponement came as voters were already queuing, or actually voting. Some people gave up on the process and did not vote at all. In Bomet Central and Chepalungu constituencies, CCM party members were disgruntled after the primaries were postponed from April 19 to the next day without due notice. 

There were also concerns over the lack of privacy in both CCM and Jubilee primaries; it was questionable whether voting really was by secret ballot. At Silibwet Polling Center, Bomet County, the Presiding Officer (PO) for Jubilee primaries informed IFA observers that they were allowing voters to be assisted by relatives, or the presiding officer, or - if the voter requested it - a party agent.

There was no effective control over multiple voting. For example, during CCM primaries at Kapsoiyo Primary Polling Station, voters were observed leaving after voting with no distinguishable ink mark on their fingers.

Section 2

Detailed Findings

IFA field teams observed and noted the following in their regional field bases. Field bases are listed in alphabetical order: Isiolo; Kakamega; Kericho; Kisii; Kisumu; Maralal; Mombasa; Nyeri. Spot checks in Nairobi are also noted.

Lack of Clarity Regarding Register of Voters

Both major parties (Jubilee and ODM) require voters in primary elections to be registered voters and party members. This means that parties need both the IEBC register and party membership lists in order to identify eligible voters during primary contests. If a party’s membership list includes members’ registration status, that membership list could suffice.

The identification of eligible party members and registered voters was extremely difficult, because the IEBC did not provide a copy of the updated register to political parties. Parties, therefore, were unclear about what to use to identify voters. Some used the 2013 register, while others used their own membership lists. In several cases, parties had no list at all.


Waso Primary School PS, Bulla Pesa Ward, Isiolo North Constituency, Isiolo (JP)[19]

  • When the process began, those missing from the register were not allowed to vote. Later on, those that could produce an IEBC notification slip to prove they were from that polling station were allowed to vote.
  • The party register was missing names of voters.
  • A page in the register was missing.

Wabera Primary School PS, Wabera Ward, Isiolo North Constituency, Isiolo (JP)[20]

  • Voters had to show just their national IDs to vote.

Kaliene Centre PS, Kigucwa Ward, Tigania East Constituency, Meru (PNU)[21]

  • When IFA arrived, the activity had stalled because voters disagreed about whether or not to use the register. Some voters thought that IDs or party membership cards should be used instead of the register. Eventually, they agreed to use IDs and party cards.

Mikinduri Primary School PS, Mikinduri Ward, Tigania East Constituency, Meru (PNU)

  • There was no party membership list, and voters were using IDs and party membership cards.
  • Party membership cards were issued on the ground for those who did not have them.[22]
  • Voters’ names were missing from the register.[23]

Mikinduri Coffee Factory PS, Mikinduri Ward, Tigania East Constituency, Meru (JP)

  • Most voters could not be found in the Jubilee membership list, and they were not allowed to vote.[24]

Kaliene Primary School PS, Kigucwa Ward, Tigania East, Meru (PNU)

  • There was significant voter turnout at PNU nominations, but there was no register and voters said that they would not vote without the party list.[25]
  • At Mikinduri and Kigucwa wards, voters agreed to vote using party membership cards because there was no register.[26]

Uhuru Primary School PS, Burat Ward, Isiolo North Constituency, Isiolo (WP)[27]

  • There was no party membership list, and voters used their IDs to be identified.
  • Voters’ names and ID numbers were recorded in a black book.

Kambi Juu Primary School PS, Burat Ward, Isiolo North Constituency, Isiolo (WP)[28]

  • The party membership list was absent, and voters used their IDs to be identified.
  • Voters’ names and ID numbers were recorded in a black book.

Kambi Garba Primary School PS, Burat Ward, Isiolo North Constituency, Isiolo (WP)[29]

  • There was no party list, and voters used their IDs to be identified.
  • The names and ID numbers of voters were recorded in a black book.












St. Paul’s Primary School PS, Shinyalu Central Ward, Shinyalu Constituency, Kakamega (ODM)

  • The PO was instructed by the elections board to allow anyone with a national ID to vote. Voters’ ID particulars were recorded in a book by polling station staff.[30]

Mupeli BED Primary School PS, Township Ward, Kanduyi Constituency, Bungoma (ODM)

  • The confusion over which register to use sparked fighting and the arrival of police officers. Eventually, it was agreed that both the IEBC register and the ODM list of members would be used.[31]

Bumini Primary School PS, East Wanga Ward, Mumias Constituency, Kakamega (JP)

  • People whose names were not in the register were allowed to vote using their ID cards.[32]


Torit Primary PS, Kapsoit Ward, Ainamoi Constituency, Kericho County (JP)

  • One woman said she was not in the register despite having voted in 2013 and despite having been successful in recently transferring her polling station.[33]

Emitiyot Primary School PS, Longisa Ward, Bomet East Constituency, Bomet (CCM)

  • The CCM party did not use the party membership list nor the IEBC register. Anyone with an ID could vote.[34]

Kapsimotwo Primary PS, Silibwet Township Ward, Bomet Central Constituency, Kericho (JP)

  • There were many complaints that names were missing from the register.[35]


Rianyabaro PS, Bomorenda Ward, Bonchari Constituency, Kisii (JP)

  • There was no official IEBC register. There was low turnout, as it coincided with church services and market day. There was a Jubilee Party membership list in use. Those not in the register were allowed to vote, and clerks recorded their names in a book.[36]

Nyamira DEB Primary School PS, Nyamira Township Ward, West Mugirango Constituency, Nyamira (ODM)

  • Only those voters whose names could be found in the party list were permitted to vote. This decision sparked some tension, because some felt that everyone on the IEBC register should be allowed to cast ballots, but party officials insisted that only the party list would be used. By evening, however, officials decided that anyone with a national ID would be permitted to vote.[37]
  • Voting was disrupted by a group of youths after the register was found missing from ODM HQ.


Onjiko Secondary School PS, Ahero Ward, Nyando Constituency, Kisumu (ODM)

  • There was no register at the polling station and anyone with a national ID was allowed to vote. A clerk took down voters’ ID particulars in a book.[38]

Kenyatta Sports Ground PS, Market Milimani Ward, Kisumu Central Constituency, Kisumu (ODM)

  • Party officials used both the 2013 IEBC register and party membership list to confirm the particulars of voters.
  • Voters whose names were missing from either the register or the party list were initially told to wait but were later allowed to vote after presenting their ID cards.


Kisauni Baptist Primary School PS, Mjambere Ward, Kisauni Constituency, Mombasa (ODM)

  • At Kisauni Baptist Church, it was difficult to find names on the register. One aspiring MCA has been waiting for more than half an hour.[39]

Mujahidina Madrassa PS, Mjambere Ward, Kisauni Consituency, Mombasa (ODM)

  • The voters’ list was incomplete at the polling station, and there was tension as aspiring leaders and security disagreed. People refused to continue the process without the rest of the list of names. Security forced people outside the PS. Clerks were struggling to reach their supervisors and ODM’s NEC members were unavailable on the phone.[40]

Mlaleo Primary School PS, Freretown Ward, Nyali Constituency, Mombasa (ODM)

  • Aspiring MP Mohammed Ali could not find his name in either the register or the party list. He raised complaints to his supporters.[41]

Chaani Social Hall PS, Chaani Ward, Changamwe Constituency, Mombasa (JP)

  • A voter with a Jubilee membership card could not find his name in the party list. He was stopped from voting.[42]
  • The only female MCA aspirant (Kotololo Esther Chao) in the Jubilee Party could not find her name in the party membership list. She was still allowed to vote.[43]


Jubilee Gospel Church PS, Nyangati Ward, Mwea Constituency, Kirinyaga (NARC-Kenya)

  • The NARC party conducted their nominations without a register.[44]











Mwea Constituency, Kirinyaga County. Elderly woman floored during clashes between protestors and police at Ngurubani Primary School Polling Station during Jubilee Primaries.

Wang’uru Girls Tallying Center, Tebere Ward, Mwea Constituency, Kirinyaga (JP)

  • Staff said that the IEBC updated register would be used.[45]


St Teresa Boys Primary PS, Eastleigh North Ward, Kamukunji Constituency, Nairobi (ODM)

  • IFA noted that no register was being used at all. People were given ballot papers without checking their names against a register.[46]

Disturbance and Violence

The primaries were characterized by chaotic organization and fraud, which created tensions and violence.


Kaliene Centre PS, Kigucwa Ward, Tigania East Constituency, Meru (PNU)[47]

  • Clashes erupted around midday, after some of the voters refused to leave the voting room after they had cast their ballots.
  • At 3:30pm, voting was disrupted because of allegations of double voting, giving out membership cards at the PS and the lack of security.[48]

Kambi Juu Primary School PS, Burat Ward, Isiolo North Constituency, Isiolo (WP)

  • An aspirant and his supporters were not permitted to vote at the polling station, because the aspirant’s supporters had allegedly denied his opponent’s supporters the right to vote at Uhuru Primary School Polling Station.[49]

Uhuru Primary School PS, Burat Ward, Isiolo North Constituency, Isiolo (WP)[50]

  • Members of the Turkana community were not allowed to vote. The station was dominated by Borana voters, who were supporting a fellow Borana candidate.











Kirinyaga Central Constituency. Kirinyaga County. Prisoners moving voting material for Jubilee Primaries at St Joseph Primary School.

Isiolo Police Officers Mess Tallying Centre, Wabera ward, Isiolo North constituency, Isiolo (WP)[51]

  • Police fired in the air to disperse the supporters of MCA aspirant Adan Hassan Ali who were protesting the win by his rival Yusuf Ekitel Ewesit.


Mupeli BED Primary School PS, Township Ward, Kanduyi Constituency, Bungoma (ODM)

  • More than 100 voters easily overpowered the clerks, entered the polling station and disrupted the election by kicking and destroying ballot boxes. There was also fighting. Observers witnessed one voter with a hammer inside the polling station. The violence was led by Ernest Wekesa, an aspiring candidate for the position of MCA. The stations’ ballot boxes were destroyed and votes were strewn all over the floor. Three people were arrested for perpetrating the violence.

Bungoma DEB Primary Tallying Center, Township Ward, Township Kanduyi Constituency, Bungoma (ODM)

  • There was an attempted petrol bombing, but it did not reach the polling station. The suspicion is that it was administered by MP aspirant Edwin Sifuna, who sensed defeat by John Makali.[52]

St. Paul’s Primary School PS, Shinyalu Central Ward, Shinyalu Constituency, Kakamega (ODM)

  • Police officers saved incumbent Silvas Anami Lisamula from an angry group of voters who demanded that he leave after he questioned the staff’s use of national IDs (instead of the ODM membership list) to identify voters. Police also fired bullets into the air to fend off rioting crowds.
  • An MP with bodyguards arrived at St. Paul’s Primary School, Shinyalu Constituency, Kakamega County. The guards halted the election, which forced angry voters to demonstrate and argue with the MP. The bodyguards fired bullets in the air, and the crowd threw stones. Eventually, police escorted the MP and his guards away.[53]


St. Kizito School of the Deaf, Litein Town Ward, Bureti Constituency, Kericho (JP)

  • There was a stand-off and citizens blocked the distribution of ballots because there were not enough ballot papers available.[54]

Kericho Day High School PS, Kipchebor Ward, Ainamoi Constituency, Kericho (JP)

  • Hired goons stormed the school, which was being used as a distribution centre and a polling station. They destroyed materials and set fire to ballot papers. One PO said that the gubernatorial aspirant, Benjamin Langat hired the goons to do this.[55]

Silibwet Township Ward, Bomet Central Constituency, Bomet (JP)

  • At a Jubilee aspirants’ meeting, there were fist fights at Twigs Hotel in Bomet town.[56]


Nyamokenye Primary PS, Bogiakumu Ward, Bonchari Constituency, Kisii (ODM)

  • Goons, who were rumored to have been hired by disqualified candidate Fred Nunda, attacked a vehicle with election materials, and all materials were destroyed. Nunda arrived at the polling station and demanded to see the voting materials and also questioned clerks about which register was being used. The PO tried to explain, but Nunda stormed out and the crowd outside became agitated. Nunda addressed the crowd and demanded that there be no nominations for Bogiakumu Ward. Security was eventually called and voting resumed.[57]
  • Results at Nyamokenye Primary Polling Station showed votes for Nunda.[58]

Itierio High School Tallying Centre, Bomorenda Ward, Bonchari Constituency, Kisii (JP)

  • Tallying was halted at 11:40pm after allegations of fraudulent figures for Jubilee MCA results sparked chaos. When a RO announced results that did not match ward-level results, more chaos erupted. Aspirants demanded to see the forms that had been signed by their agents. The Jubilee Party’s county chair tried to calm the people, but he was unable to do so. Police arrived on the scene, and they forced aspirants and agents out of the hall. The Jubilee representative declared that whoever had a problem had to file an official complaint the next day and results would remain as announced in the meantime. The following morning, supporters of various aspirants continued to protest, citing changed figures for MCA and women’s representative races. The county RO announced winners on April 27 amidst protests, with police throwing teargas canisters into the crowd. There were multiple allegations of rigging.[59]











Bonchari Constituency, Kisii County.  Parliamentary Aspirant injured in fracas during ODM primaries.

Bogiakumu Primary School PS, Bogiakumu Ward, Bonchari Constituency, Kisii (JP)

  • Jubilee aspirant for the position of Member of National Assembly, Mary Kemunto Ratemo, stormed the polling station when she found that her name was not on the ballot.  She mobilized her supporters and they chanted, “No Mary, No Voting.” By 11:20am, voting had not begun. The PO was unable to control the crowd, and voters set the materials on fire. Staff fled. IFA observers saw both authentic and fake ballots.[60]


Kosawo Hall PS, Manyatta “B” Ward, Kisumu Central Constituency, Kisumu (ODM)

  • Violence was reported in Kisumu (Manyatta slum) after a blackout during counting.[61]
  • In Kisumu, party officials were extremely secretive about the location of the tallying centre.  Eventually, they announced that tallying would be conducted at Thurdubuoro Secondary School. When IFA observers reached the location, they found no such centre.
  • It was also noted that gubernatorial results were being announced on television while counting at some polling stations was still ongoing.
  • Protesters took to the streets, setting fires in some areas, after ODM reported two different results for the outcome of the gubernatorial primary. The incumbent governor also led a protest against the conduct of the primaries.[62]


Kisima Primary PS, Lodokejek Ward, Samburu West Constituency, Samburu (KANU)

  • There was a stalemate at Kisima Primary Polling Station, where voters were denied permission to vote because they did not have KANU membership cards. Voters threatened to burn the ballots if they were not given a chance to vote.[63]

Ravine Township Ward, Eldama Ravine Constituency, Baringo (JP)

  • The Baringo governor was beaten at Ravine town after a vehicle ferrying marked ballot papers that allegedly belonged to him was impounded by the police along Marigat-Nakuru Road.[64]


Kishada Ground PS, Mjambere Ward, Kisauni Constituency, Mombasa (ODM)

  • The election was stopped because the name of one MCA aspirant was missing from the ballot. Police reinforcements had to be called because of chaos..[65]

Ziwa la Ngombe PS, Ziwa la Ngombe Ward, Nyali Constituency, Mombasa (ODM)

  • The process was disrupted by the use of teargas and gunshots in the late afternoon.[66]


Ngurubani Primary Polling Station, Tebere Ward, Mwea Constituency, Kirinyaga (JP)

  • Residents demonstrated after no materials were supplied. They were dispersed by a GSU officer with teargas.[67]
  • Voters demonstrated along the Mwea-Embu highway because materials had not arrived as of 3:30pm and there had been no communication from the party.[68]


St Teresa Boys Primary PS, Eastleigh North Ward, Kamukunji Constituency, Nairobi (ODM)

  • At approximately 8:45 pm, heavily armed GSU officers arrived and escorted aspirants and ballot boxes out of the tallying centre for Mathare Constituency. Elections were stopped in the area and police had to fire guns in the air to diffuse altercations between supporters of opposing candidates.[69]

Delayed Starts and Closures at Polling Stations

One of the most common problems was the delay in opening polling stations. In many areas, observers witnessed significant queues well before staff and materials arrived. There were also several cases in which staff  were present but lacking voting materials.  Voters expressed anger at the delays, and the loss of time was frequently not compensated for later in the day.

Administrative Disorganization

The process suffered from a complete lack of or an insufficient number of basic materials for voting, wrongly printed ballots, makeshift ballot boxes that did not properly seal, an insufficient number of staff at the polling stations, and slow lines.


Waso Primary School PS, Bulla Pesa Ward, Isiolo North Constituency, Isiolo (JP)[70]

  • The Jubilee Party ballot included the name of an individual who was not running.
  • Political party staff used photocopied ballots.
  • Wrongly placed ballot papers were moved to correct boxes after the agents and PO agreed on the same.

Kaliene Centre PS, Kigucwa Ward, Tigania East Constituency, Meru (PNU)[71]

  • There was no secrecy during voting and the voters were using small manila papers to indicate aspirants’ names, as they were not provided with ballot papers.
  • Open buckets were used as ballot boxes.

Rural Tallying Centre, Isiolo North Constituency, Isiolo (JP)[72]

  • The returning officer was corrected from time to time, as he was giving wrong figures during the tallying process.

Mikinduri Coffee Factory, Mikinduri Ward, Tigania East Constituency, Meru (JP)[73]

  • Ballot papers were limited.
  • The ballot for women’s representative included three names, even though one candidate had defected.

Mikinduri Primary School PS, Mikinduri Ward, Tigania East Constituency, Meru[74] (PNU)

  • The staff used card-sized manila papers as ballot papers.

Uhuru Primary School PS, Burat Ward, Isiolo North Constituency, Isiolo (WP)

  • Ballots were photocopied and were not stamped.

Kambi Garba Primary School PS, Burat Ward, Isiolo North Constituency, Isiolo (WP)

  • Officials used buckets sealed with cello tape as ballot boxes.[75]

Kambi Juu Primary School PS, Burat Ward, Isiolo North Constituency, Isiolo (WP)

  • Staff used buckets sealed with cello tape as ballot boxes.[76]


Mupeli BED Primary School PS, Township Ward, Kanduyi Constituency, Bungoma (ODM)

  • There were no seats or tables in the polling station.[77]

Malinya Primary School PS, Idakho Central Ward, Ikolomani Constituency, Kakamega (Ford-Kenya)

  • Staff used buckets as ballot boxes, and they were not properly sealed. There were no official ballots for MCA candidates, and so people used ordinary paper on which they wrote the names of the candidates they preferred.[78]


St. Kizito School for the Deaf, Litein Ward, Bureti Constituency, Kericho (JP)

  • In Bureti Constituency, an MP aspirant complained about the insufficient number of ballot papers.[79]

Mutarakwa Ward, Sotik Constituency, Kericho (JP)

  • Three polling stations (Chebulu Primary, Soliot Primary and Chebitet Primary) were missing ballot papers for the women’s representative race. There were plans from the RO to photocopy more papers. Voters were dejected and tired.[80]


Nyamokenye Primary PS, Bogiakumu Ward, Bonchari Constituency, Kisii (ODM)

  • One polling station used wrongly marked ballot boxes, which were labeled with the name of a different ward.[81]


ODM County Office, Market Milimani Ward, Kisumu Central Constituency, Kisumu (ODM)

  • On Friday, officers were yet to receive materials for Monday’s nomination. They had not been given instructions regarding recruitment of clerks.[82]


Chaani Primary School PS, Chaani Ward, Changamwe Constituency, Mombasa (WP)

  • One aspirant found his name was not on the ballot, and the omission sparked an angry verbal encounter between party officials, aspirants and supporters. The entire exercise came to a standstill.[83]

St. Charles Lwanga Primary School PS, Changamwe Ward, Changamwe Constituency, Mombasa (WP)

  • Even after staff and clerks arrived late for the Wiper Party primary, voters refused to begin voting because ballots for MCA candidates had not arrived. Voters also refused to use exercise books as an alternative to official ballots. MCA ballots did not ever arrive.[84]

Kisauni Baptist PS, Mjambere Ward, Kisauni Constituency, Mombasa (ODM)

  • People were frustrated that the process was so slow, mainly due to the small font size of the lists.[85]


Wang’uru Girls Tallying Center, Tebere Ward, Mwea Constituency, Kirinyaga (JP)

  • Anne Waiguru, former Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Devolution and Planning, who was forced to resign over corruption allegations, expressed disappointment in the Jubilee election board, and she accused an aspirant for MNA of interfering with the distribution of ballots in an attempt to rig the results.[86]
  • At the postponed JP primary, there were still an insufficient number of ballots for a women’s representative race and for races for Member of the National Assembly. In some cases, ballots for several polling stations were completely missing.[87]

Gakuu Primary School PS, Nyangati Ward, Mwea Constituency (JP)

  • There was a stalemate when ballots ran out. Agents refused to use exercise books as suggested by the PO.[88]

Violations of Secrecy of the Ballot

IFA observers noted that voters’ privacy was often not respected. In some cases, “assistance” appeared to be little more than a badly concealed attempt to influence voters’ choices. In other cases, voters were forced to sacrifice the secrecy of their ballots because polling stations had no electricity. They therefore had to rely on other people’s mobile phones for light.











Ikolomani Constituency, Kakamega County. MCA voting done on pieces of paper while Ballots for MP and Women’s Representative are printed.


Waso Primary School PS, Bulla Pesa Ward, Isiolo North Constituency, Isiolo[89] (JP)

  • There were questions over the role of the polling station clerks, because they were seen to be making decisions for voters on whom to nominate. IFA observers specifically witnessed one clerk telling voters who to vote for and who not to select.

Uhuru Primary School PS, Burat Ward, Isiolo North Constituency, Isiolo[90] (WP)

  • There was no secrecy in casting ballots. Voters were marking ballots without booth screens, in full view of the other voters, agents, and the PO.
  • IFA observers witnessed agents and the PO helping multiple voters to mark their ballots.


Mupeli BED Primary School PS, Township Ward, Kanduyi Constituency, Bungoma (ODM)

  • IFA observers witnessed agents helping voters to cast their ballots in ways that betrayed the secrecy of their votes.[91]

St. Paul’s Primary School PS, Shinyalu Central Ward, Shinyalu Constituency, Kakamega (ODM)

  • IFA observers witnessed aspirants’ agents helping voters fill in ballots. Agents also inked fingers and issued ballots.
  • Polling station staff allowed people to vote twice, and also permitted people from outside the area to cast ballots.[92]











Mwea Constituency, Kirinyaga County. Irate voters erect roadblock at Ngurubani Primary School Polling Station.

Malinya Primary School PS, Idakho Central Ward, Ikolomani Constituency, Kakamega (Ford-Kenya)

  • There were cases in which voters were assisted in filling out Ford-Kenya membership cards, used as a requirement to vote.[93]
  • Staff used buckets as ballot boxes, which were not properly sealed.
  • There were no official ballots for MCA candidates, and so people used ordinary paper on which they wrote the names of the candidates they preferred.[94]


Chaani Primary School PS, Chaani Ward, Changamwe Constituency, Mombasa (WP)

  • There were many assisted voters, and the secrecy of the vote was not respected.[95]


Kutus Primary Polling Station PS, Nyangati Ward, Mwea Constituency, Kirinyaga (JP)

  • There was no secrecy of the ballot, because people had to share materials.[96]
  • Agents used the poor lighting as an excuse to assist voters.[97]

Bribery, fraud and undue influence

The primary process was marked by a significant lack of transparency. Among the more serious issues were widespread bribery and evidence of pre-marked ballots.


Waso Primary School PS, Bulla Pesa Ward, Isiolo North Constituency, Isiolo[98] (JP)

  • IFA observers witnessed attempts by people standing outside the gate of the polling station to influence voters.
  • There were many allegations and concerns about voter bribery, including concern over vehicles with windows rolled down and doors opened parked near voters entering the polling station, which were widely assumed to be money distribution points.
  • In one stream, votes cast for women’s representatives exceeded votes cast for the other positions by 60 votes.

Mikinduri Primary School PS, Mikinduri Ward, Tigania East Constituency, Meru[99] (PNU)

  • Some Jubilee party members who had voted on 21 April were seen voting again as PNU members.

Uhuru Primary School PS, Burat Ward, Isiolo North Constituency, Isiolo (WP)

  • One voter was arrested after he was found with two marked ballot papers.[100]
  • The PO was seen “correcting” spoiled ballots.
  • The PO openly admitted partisan support.

Isiolo Police Officers’ Mess Tallying Centre, Wabera Ward, Isiolo North Constituency, Isiolo (WP)

  • An agent of one of the aspirants was accused of hiding the ‘black book’ with voters’ details because the number of votes cast exceeded the number of voters recorded.[101]


Chemosot Ward, Bureti Constituency, Kericho (JP)

  • An MP was seen promising a kilogram of sugar to every person in the crowd. After the speech, people lined up and received up to Ksh200 each.[102]


Nyamokenye Primary Polling Station, Bogiakumu Ward, Bonchari Constituency, Kisii (JP)

  • The voting process stalled when marked ballots were found in the possession of a supporter of one of the aspirants. An altercation ensued, and tension mounted over suspicion of the possibility of ballot stuffing.[103]
  • Pre-marked ballots for a candidate running for the position of women’s representative were recovered.[104]
  • There were other allegations of pre-marked ballots for one women’s representative candidate recovered in Bomachoge Borabu and Bomachoge Chache constituencies.[105]

Bomorenda Ward and Bogiakumu Ward, Bonchari Constituency, Kisii (JP)

  • Jubilee held repeat primaries after there were complaints of massive rigging in Bomorenda Ward and Bogiakumu Ward, Bonchari Constituency.
  • There was lack of public faith in the process, leading to a petition to repeat the exercise in Itierio High School.

Irregular Voting

Absence of proper process, materials, and widespread fraud and manipulation resulted in observable voting irregularities.


Waso Primary School PS, Bulla Pesa Ward, Isiolo North Constituency, Isiolo (JP)[106]

  • The polling station staff used erasable ink, which facilitated multiple voting.

Uhuru Primary School PS, Burat Ward, Isiolo North Constituency, Isiolo (WP)

  • Party staff did not consistently ink all voters’ fingers.

Kambi Garba Primary School PS, Burat Ward, Isiolo North Constituency, Isiolo (WP)[107]

  • Voters were ferried in a bus from Uhuru Primary School polling station where they had voted. They were then seen voting again at Kambi Garba Primary School Polling Station. 


Nyamokenye Primary School PS, Bogiakumu Ward, Bonchari Constituency Kisii (JP)

  • IFA observers witnessed voters participating in multiple parties’ primaries. This was also the case in Nyamira.[108]


St. Teresa Girls School, Mlango Kubwa Ward, Mathare Constituency Nairobi (JP)

  • IFA witnessed two polling agents who voted twice.[109]

Use of State Resource for Campaign Purposes

The law prohibits state officers from using state resources for campaign purposes. Despite the regulations, IFA observers witnessed the use of public resources for particular parties’ primary elections.


Silibwet Polytechnic PS, Silibwet Township Ward, Bomet Central Constituency, Bomet (CCM)

  • IFA observers noted that most of the individuals manning the polling station for CCM primaries were county government civil servants.[110]


Wang’uru Girls Tallying Center, Tebere Ward, Mwea Constituency, Kirinyaga (JP)

  • A police vehicle was used by the Jubilee Party to ferry ballots boxes to clerks.[111]

Obstacles to Observation

InformAction teams encountered some hostility and threats when observing irregularities.


Uhuru Primary School PS, Burat Ward, Isiolo North Constituency, Isiolo (WP)

  • Polling station staff threatened to attack IFA observers when they asked for the number of people recorded in the ‘black book.’ Candidates’ supporters started throwing stones at the observers from the rooftop.
  • At Isiolo Police Mess Tallying Centre, the IFA team was accused of hiding the ‘black book’ when it could not be found. It later became clear that an aspirant’s agent had hidden the book to cover up the fact that the ballots cast exceeded the number of voters in the ‘black book.’
  • The team filed a police report over the incidents of harassment, during which time gunshots were heard being fired from the tallying centre.[112]

Mikinduri Primary School PS, Mikinduri Ward, Tigania East Constituency, Meru (JP)[113]

  • In a separate incident, the Presiding Officer only allowed agents in after IFA intervention.


CCM Offices Bomet, Longisa Ward, Bomet East Constituency, Bomet (CCM)

  • IFA observers were denied access to the CCM distribution centre activities. They were told they could only observe polling station activities.[114]

Sosiot Distribution Center, Waldai Ward, Belgut Constituency, Kericho (JP)

  • A Senator demanded that IFA stop observing and recording. There was tension, but IFA continued recording with some public support.[115]


Nyamiobo Primary School PS, Riana Ward, Bonchari Constituency, Kisii (JP)

  • The IFA team in Kisii filed an incident report at Gesonso Police Station. The report included the team’s experiences with verbal assault, death threats, attempted damaging of cameras, threats to burn the team’s vehicle.[116] See above for details.


Lekiarab PS and Masikita PS, Ndoto Ward, Samburu North, Samburu (JP)

  • The PO did not allow agents to enter the polling station without a Jubilee letter.[117]


New Pumwani School PS, Pumwani Ward, Kamukunji Constituency Nairobi (ODM)

  • IFA was denied entry at New Pumwani School PS in Nairobi. Observers were not even permitted to look inside windows. IFA was eventually allowed to observe inside but was asked to leave within twenty minutes. [118]

St Teresa Boys Primary PS, Eastleigh North Ward, Kamukunji Constituency, Nairobi (ODM)

  • An aspirant complained that party agents were working as clerks. A police officer ordered IFA to stop recording the complaint.[119]

St Teresa Boys Primary PS, Eastleigh North Ward, Kamukunji Constituency, Nairobi (ODM)

  • In Mathare and Kamukunji, people were very hostile towards observers. Voters, police, and elections officials questioned IFA observers about what they were doing, despite their visible accreditation.[120]

Irregularities and Manipulation


Mikinduri Coffee Factory, Mikinduri Ward, Tigania East Constituency, Meru[121] (JP)

  • IFA witnessed voting, counting and the declaration of Florence Kajuju as winner. The nomination was then cancelled by a Jubilee announcement.

Uhuru Primary School PS, Burat Ward, Isiolo North Constituency, Isiolo[122] (WP)

  • Two aspirants both claimed to have nomination certificates, which they received through direct nominations.

Kapsoit Ward, Ainamoi Constituency, Kericho (JP)

  • IFA witnessed the burning of ballots in the following locations: Sitotwet, Samutet, Chemabei, Kapsoit Junior, and Kapsoit Secondary.[123] IFA has been unable to clarify the reasons.


Tononoka Social Hall Tallying Centre, Tononoka Ward, Mvita Constituency, Mombasa (ODM)

  • There were tensions over the delays in results announcements.[124]


Wang’uru Tallying Center, Tebere Ward, Mwea Constituency, Kirinyaga (JP)

  • Ballots were observed being burned to prevent their re-use in postponed nominations.[125]

Kirinyaga (JP)

  • IFA observers were told that ballots and ballot boxes were burned in the following stations: Ahiti Doba, Wamumu in Mwea, Karumandi in Gichugu and Gakoigo in Kirinyaga sub counties.[126]


 St. Teresa Girls School PS, Mlango Kubwa Ward, Mathare Constituency, Nairobi (ODM)

  • Agents used voting booths to have their lunch. 

Electoral Darkness

Finally, the teams observed a lack of lighting and electricity in various locations in all regions covered.  This is of critical importance to the upcoming General Election.

Nationwide, IFA observers witnessed many instances of party staff struggling to count and tally results in darkness, in the evening and into the night. There was no light provided. Sometimes, lack of lighting impacted voters, who had to cast their ballots in the dark. In many cases, the only available light came from people’s mobile phones.

In Kisumu, for example, counting had to be done in darkness at Kenyatta Sports Ground PS, Market Milimani Ward, Kisumu Central Constituency.[127] Similarly, in Kisii, people voted with no lighting at 7pm at Nyamokenye Primary Polling Station, Bogiakumu Ward, Bonchari Constituency; they were given assistance by people carrying torches and phones.[128] Tallying was frequently done without proper lighting, with staff struggling to see details.[129]

3Some regions – like Northern Kenya and Coast - are disproportionately affected, but no area is immune to electoral darkness and all its concomitant vulnerabilities.  For example, in Nyeri, IFA observers reported voters sharing pens and phones for lack of lighting at the Jubiliee primaries at Kutus Primary Polling Station PS, Nyangati Ward, Mwea Constituency, Kirinyaga, and party agents using the poor lighting to ‘assist’ voters.


Recommendations to Government

  • Take clear nationwide responsibility for the electoral environment, and condemn all acts of violence, intimidation, bribery and fraud.
  • Fully utilize the pre-election period to urgently counter the ‘normalization’ of violence and intimidation. This should include steps to:
    • condemn and investigate incidents where security forces fail to properly police; or behave in a violent or partisan manner; or are coopted at a partisan level
    • clearly condemn and investigate acts of electoral intimidation and fraud and unconstitutional electoral practices
    • make pubic its commitment to allow for peaceful protests and peaceful citizen action if inadequate or fraudulent electoral processes cause frustration during the General Election

Recommendations to political parties:

  • Genuinely commit to democratic and accountable processes, and effectively and consistently discipline and control party actors who do otherwise
  • Political parties should analyze the benefits and downsides of primary elections before they commit to holding them.
  • All Kenyan political parties are in urgent need of intensive training relating to the establishment, administration and maintenance of party structures. The training should be broadly comprehensive, and include membership, logistics and finance, and the development of substantive platforms and policies.
  • Amend internal timelines and create internal structures that facilitate well-planned and well-implemented primaries. At minimum, this should include:
    • The development of a reliable and regularly updated list of party members,
    • The early recruitment of polling station staff, and
    • The early, comprehensive training of polling station staff that includes lessons in election laws and party constitutions.
  • Ensure that polling stations have enough staff. Staff should be allocated based on the expected number of voters.

Recommendations to policy-makers:

  • Change electoral timelines so that party primaries take place at least three months before election day. This allows sufficient time for dispute resolution and correct ballot printing.

Recommendations to the IEBC

Respond to domestic monitoring observations to date.

 Respond to public concerns over:

  • Lack of confidence in registration processes
  • Suppression of voting in certain areas of the country, because of violence, intimidation and population displacement, particularly in Northern Kenya and Laikipia
  • Urgently address the widespread absence of voter education
  • Urgently address the nationwide absence of electricity and light in polling stations
  • Address the logistics that cause uneven provision of materials and registration in different areas of the country



[1] BBC. 27 April 2017. “What Kenya’s chaotic primaries tell us about August election.” Available at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-39730035.

[2] Christina Nyström. 2000. “Kenya: The Party System from 1963-2000.” Available at http://www.janda.org/ICPP/ICPP2000/Countries/9-CentralEastAfrica/96-Kenya/96-Kenya63-00.htm

[3] M. Rutten. 1997. “The Kenyan General Elections of 1997: Implementing a New Model for International Election Observation in Africa,” in J. Abbink, and G.S.C.M. Hesseling (EDs) Election Observation and Democratization in Africa, page 302.  https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/bitstream/handle/1887/9712/ASC_1268319_020.pdf?sequence=1

[4] ELOG. 2013. “The Historic Vote: Elections 2013,” page 32. https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1860/THE%20ELOG%20REPORT.pdf

[6] Maiyo, page 61.

[7] Maiyo, page 61.

[8] Commonwelath Observer Group. 2013. “Report of the Commonwealth Observer Group-Kenya,” page 14.

[9] The Carter Center, 33.

[10] European Union Election Observation Mission to Kenya. 2013. “General Elections 2013,” page 15. Available at http://www.eods.eu/library/eu-eom-kenya-2013-final-report_en.pdf

[11] EU EOM Kenya, 16.

[12] EU EOM Kenya, 15.

[13] ELOG, 32.

[14]The Carter Center, 33.

[15] EU EOM Kenya, 25.

[16] International Heads’ of Mission Statement on Kenya’s Political Party Primary Process. 3 May 2017. Available at https://ke.usembassy.gov/international-heads-mission-statement-kenyas-political-party-primary-process

[17] http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFKBN17Z1VY-OZATP

[18]Imende Benjamin. 2017. “Sixteen to battle Uhuru, Raila in presidential race.” Star Newspaper.  http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2017/05/10/sixteen-to-battle-uhuru-raila-in-presidential-race_c1557990

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