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October 26th election: Polling station covered in human faeces still recorded 14 votes even though no voters turned up to vote

8 November 2017 - 12:11

By Never Again

According to an affidavit sworn by a Mombasa-based election observer, a polling station covered in human faeces still recorded 14 votes in the 26 October repeat presidential election even though the polling station remained closed on the voting day. The observer John Paul Obonyo has sworn the affidavit in support of a petition by human rights activists Njonjo Mue and Khelef Khalifa. Mue and Khalifa, in a petition filed late on Monday want the Supreme Court to overturn the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s declaration of Uhuru Kenyatta as the winner of the 26 October poll.

In the affidavit, Obonyo describes how he found the St. Mary’s Primary School polling station located within the Bangladesh informal settlement covered with faeces on the eve of the election:

“At about 4 p.m. I went to the polling station, St. Mary’s Primary School accessing it through the public field and found that it had been smeared with excrement from the gate of the school to the classrooms and all administrative buildings in the school.”

“Due to the huge amounts of excrement needed in order to carry out such an odious task the polling station had been made uninhabitable and I was only able to stay there for a few minutes before the stench became unbearable.”

Yet, despite the polling station being unoccupiable, Obonyo says it recorded 14 votes on the Form 34 A.

“Despite this, upon accessing the Form 34 As for St. Mary’s polling station, I found that IEBC had recorded voter turnout of 14 people across the six (6) streams. Additionally the comments by the presiding officers were contrary to the actual situation on the ground and even from presiding officer to presiding officer with some claiming that the polling station was closed before time due to violence, one claiming that it was closed and that later voting took place, and another claiming that voting was done in a temporary polling station.”

You can read the affidavit sworn by Obonyo in full below:

REPUBLIC OF KENYA

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF KENYA AT NAIROBI

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION PETITION NO.            OF 2017

 

BETWEEN

NJONJO MUE …...……….………………..………………………….……...1ST PETITIONER

KHELEF KHALIFA…….…………………...……..……………..……….....2ND PETITIONER

 

AND

INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL AND

BOUNDARIES COMMISSION................…………………….……….…...1ST RESPONDENT

THE CHAIRPERSON OF INDEPENDENT

ELECTORAL AND BOUNDARIES COMMISSION................................2ND RESPONDENT

H. E. UHURU MUIGAI KENYATTA……..….………………….………..3RD RESPONDENT

NATIONAL SUPER ALLIANCE COALITION (NASA) ………..….…..4TH RESPONDENT

 

 

 

AFFIDAVIT OF JOHN PAUL OBONYO IN SUPPORT OF THE PETITION

 

I, JOHN PAUL OBONYO of P.O. Box 92253 Mombasa do hereby make oath and state:

1.     THAT I am an adult male of sound mind and hence competent to swear this affidavit on my own behalf.

 

2.     THAT I am a resident of Mombasa County and have lived in the Bangladesh informal settlement in Mikindani Ward located in Jomvu Constituency since the year 2003.

 

3.     THAT I have worked for HakiYetu, a human rights organization, as a programme officer in charge of housing issues and governance since the year 2008.

 

4.     THAT the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission partnered with HakiYetu and Muhuri -Muslims for Human Rights- in order to deploy observers for the presidential election of 26th October 2017 in Mombasa County.

 

5.     THAT I have previously been accredited as an observer by the Electoral Commission of Kenya in the year 2007.  I was selected as one of the observers and underwent extensive training as to what key areas should be observed in the fresh presidential election scheduled for 26th October 2017.

 

6.     THAT as an observer, some of the things I was instructed to observe and record were: the time of opening of the polling station, time of arrival of ballot materials, number of police officers present at the polling station and its environs as well as the police departments they worked for, voter turnout, any incidences of stray voters around the polling station and their activities, any incidences of violence and voter intimidation and who carried it out. Annexed hereto and marked “JPO 1” is a copy of the observation checklist highlighting key areas for observation.

 

7.     THAT by having been accredited by the IEBC to observe the election through the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission my role was to observe the elections in line with the checklist provided.

 

8.     THAT the deployment of observers was done according to the polling stations in which an observer was registered; this was in order to ensure those who wished to vote had a chance to vote. Additionally, due to the security concerns it was important to ensure that anyone observing the elections was a familiar face to the people at the polling station.

 

9.     THAT as a long-time resident of Bangladesh informal settlement, I was deployed to St. Mary’s Primary School Polling Centre in Mikindani Ward, Jomvu Constituency.

 

10.  THAT the polling station is about five minutes walk from the Mombasa-Nairobi Highway and is only accessible through a public field located in front of the school.

 

11.  THAT as a resident of Bangladesh informal settlement I was also able to observe what happened on the day before the election, specifically 25th October 2017.

 

12.  THAT at about 4 p.m. I went to the polling station, St. Mary’s Primary School accessing it through the public field and found that it had been smeared with excrement from the gate of the school to the classrooms and all administrative buildings in the school.

 

13.  THAT due to the huge amounts of excrement needed in order to carry out such an odious task the polling station had been made uninhabitable and I was only able to stay there for a few minutes before the stench became unbearable.

 

14.  THAT in the evening members of the community spontaneously began gathering at the public field to discuss the events of the day and speculate on what would happen the next day as well as to discuss how they would ensure that voting did not take place at the polling station.

 

15.  THAT as the evening progressed a group of youth went door to door demanding that all men who were residents of Bangladesh informal settlement gather in the field in order to prepare for the events of the following day. The gathering went on late into the night with a number of female residents also in attendance.

 

16.  THAT by 9.p.m., a number of people piled tyres at the entrance to the public field and set them on fire as a strategy to prevent the IEBC from accessing the polling station.Annexed hereto and marked “JPO 2” is a photo of the burning tyres on the road that I personally took using my mobile phone make Samsung GT S7580 which was in good working condition.

 

17.  THAT at about the same time I observed a police vehicle with four police officers parked on the highway at the entrance to the settlement. This was about 5 minutes’ walk from the public field. These police officers did not attempt to move from where their vehicle was parked near the highway.

 

18.  THAT people kept bringing additional barriers and had tyres burning at these barriers. By 10 p.m. there were three of these barriers standing between the highway and the public field.

                              

19.  THAT two more police cars full of police officers arrived at the highway entrance to reinforce their colleagues and a grey Toyota Probox with some police officers attempted to gain entrance into Bangladesh at this time but turned back.

 

20.  THAT the number of barriers of tyres and fire went on increasing and as the night progressed -- there were six barriers between the highway and Bangladesh.

 

21.  THAT at or about 11:30 p.m. the police began firing teargas canisters into Bangladesh and a standoff ensued between the residents and the police who stood on the other side of the furthest barrier firing teargas canisters into the crowd and the crowd shouting from the opposite side. This standoff and state of events continued until about 5 am or thereabouts.

 

22.  THAT at 5:30 a.m. or thereabouts I left the area and made my way to my residence in order to prepare for further observation.

 

23.  THAT the situation at the grounds was largely similar to what it had been the night before as the fires burning were still been fanned. The only difference I could discern were that the police were no longer firing tear gas canisters and that at this point the leaders and majority of the people were the female residents of Bangladesh.

 

24.  THAT at or about 9:30 a.m., IEBC officials accompanied by police officers came to the highway entrance into Bangladesh. The Returning Officer got into a car that attempted to navigate the obstacle course that had been set up by the residents of Bangladesh but was unable to succeed.

 

25.  THAT I received communication from fellow observers, who informed me and I believed them. that the returning officer went back to Kajembe Secondary School in Mikindani.

 

26.  THAT at about 11 a.m. senior police officials came to Bangladesh. Among them were the County Commander, the County Commissioner, the OCPD and OCS of Changamwe, the AP Commandant, the CID, and the DCIO.

 

27.  THAT the County Commissioner was able to gain entrance into Bangladesh following the intervention by the area chief.

 

28.  THAT the officer made his way outside St.Patrick’s Catholic Church entrance which is located right next to St. Mary’s polling station where he addressed the people and the media on the situation.

 

29.  THAT he came to the polling station and expressed his dismay at the state in which he found it (having been smeared with excrement) and then left.

 

30.  THAT I went along with his entourage as far as the highway and while there I observed that the police deployment to the area had greatly increased, there were now 15 police cars and two six-wheeler police vehicles mounted with water cannons along with a large contingent of officers. Annexed hereto and marked “JPO 3” are copies of photographs that I took of the police convoy using my mobile phone make Samsung GT S7580 which was in good working condition.

 

31.  THAT I have also seen video footage showing some of the events that took place at Bangladesh. Annexed hereto and marked “JPO 4” are copies transcripts of and video footage showing some of the events at Bangladesh.

 

32.  THAT the presence of the police agitated the residents of Bangladesh who became more and more rowdy at the sight of them.

 

33.  THAT I was informed by fellow observers, whose information I believe to be true, that there was voting taking place at Kenya Railway Flats.

 

34.  THAT upon obtaining this information I went to Kenya Railway Flats which is about 10 minutes away from St. Mary’s Primary School in order to observe what was happening there.

 

35.  THAT the same information I had received had been disseminated amongst the residents of Bangladesh who came to Kenya Railways Flats intent on stopping any voting that may have been taking place there.

 

36.  THAT the residents of Bangladesh began throwing stones into Kenya Railways Flats, which is a gated community, on suspicion that the people living there were assisting IEBC officials to carry out voting.

 

37.  THAT I had made my way inside and just outside the flats, near a business known as the Dakawou Company, I found that indeed IEBC officials seemed to be setting up an informal polling station, they had opened up ballot boxes and were taking out and setting up KIEMS kits. Annexed hereto and marked “JPO 5” is a picture I took of the IEBC officials setting up an informal polling station at this location using my mobile phone make Samsung GT S7580 which was in good working condition.

 

38.  THAT I located the Deputy County Commissioner and made my concerns known regarding the safety of the residents of Kenya Railway Flats if the exercise the IEBC officials were engaged in was allowed to proceed, my sense of the danger had been heightened by the fact that the stoning had intensified to such a degree that one of the perimeter flats had fallen down. Soon after the IEBC officials left, having failed to facilitate voting.

39.  THAT the community was still agitated and it took the assurance of the police officers present that no voting had taken place in order for them to agree to disperse.

 

40.  THAT I received information from fellow observers, which I believe to be true, that voting was taking place at Kajembe Secondary School which was the constituency tallying centre.

 

41.  THAT there was no voting at St. Mary’s Polling Centre due to the situation on the ground.

 

42.  THAT despite this, upon accessing the Form 34 As for St. Mary’s polling station, I found that IEBC had recorded voter turnout of 14 people across the six (6) streams. Additionally the comments by the presiding officers were contrary to the actual situation on the ground and even from presiding officer to presiding officer with some claiming that the polling station was closed before time due to violence, one claiming that it was closed and that later voting took place, and another claiming that voting was done in a temporary polling station. Annexed hereto and marked “JPO 6” are a copies of the Form 34 As for St. Mary’s polling station

 

43.  THAT in order to compile a report on Kaloleni and Changamwe constituencies, I received information from my fellow observers, which I believe to be true, on what had occurred at their stations. Some notable events were:

 

a.     Low voter turnout in many polling stations as captured in tabular form below.

 

b.     Lilongwe Gardens polling station which is located on private property could not be used because the owner refused to allow IEBC officials to access it. This caused them to set up their voting booths on the road which was then marred by violent incidents especially the throwing of stones which caused injury to two IEBC officials and one observer.

 Annexed hereto and marked “JPO 7” is my report on voting in Kaloleni and Changamwe Constituencies.

       

44.  THAT only a tiny minority of the registered voters voted in the fresh presidential election within the area where I observed polling. A large number of voters kept away from the exercise either from fear or citing their lack of faith in the credibility of the IEBC.

 

45.  THAT what I have stated above is true to the best of my knowledge, information and believe.

SWORN AT NAIROBI

By the said                                          ]

JOHN PAUL OBONYO                    ]     ___________________________________

On this        day of              2017        ]                 (Deponent)

                                                            ]

                                                             ]

BEFORE ME                                     ]

COMMISSIONER FOR OATHS    ]                                                            

 

 

 

DRAWN & FILED BY:

 

COPIES TO BE SERVED UPON:

1.     THE CHAIRPERSON,

INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL AND

BOUNDARIES COMMISSION

ANNIVERSARY TOWERS

6TH FLOOR, UNIVERSITY WAY

P. O. BOX 45371 – 00100

NAIROBI

 

 

2.              INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL AND

BOUNDARIES COMMISSION

ANNIVERSARY TOWERS

6TH FLOOR, UNIVERSITY WAY

P. O. BOX 45371 – 00100

NAIROBI

           

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