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REVEALED! This Is Why We Had Bungled Jubilee Primaries On Friday.

Some of the dramatic scenes that characterised polling in Thika during Friday's Jubilee Party nominations.
Friday evening Jubilee Party annulled all its primaries countrywide and rescheduled the voting for Monday and Tuesday this week, citing inadequate preparations for the high voter turnout. The nominations were marred by chaos, long delays, insufficient ballot papers, missing names and general confusion.

At stake are hundreds of MP races, county assembly seats and governorships.

In Thika, police on Friday fired in the air and tear lobbed tear-gas canisters to disperse rowdy crowds angered by delays in the start of Jubilee nominations among other irregularities. Youth shouting and wailing stormed various school polling centres disrupting the whole exercise after it became apparent that there were no more ballots.

Even though more than 60,000 officials had worked to prepare for Friday’s primaries, the process kicked off to a stormy start, the exercise was much disorganised and had to start very late. In all polling stations, ballot papers were very few. Those who had recently registered as voters during the mass voter registration or recently transferred to other polling centres found their names missing in the register.

So, what went wrong?
According to sources privy to Jubilee Headquarters in Pangani, internal differences among those responsible for the exercise plus individual business interests were some of the reasons that caused the mess in the nominations.

It is said that after changes were made at the secretariat, previous arrangements for the polls were altered and budgets reviewed downwards with some things either discarded or whittled down significantly. These movements unsettled the original plans a great deal at a time the party was bogged down by a myriad of issues including the smart cards fiasco.

For instance, the original plan was to print out a total of 29,093,240 ballots all the five positions.  In the ensuing changes, ballots papers were reduced from 90% of the 2013 voters to 50% of the current voter estimates which were later scaled down to 40%.

The number of clerks originally planned at 6 per polling stations were reduced to 3. Vehicles which were to be hired to distribute the materials from the county offices were also axed from the list, leaving a vacuum. A lot more drastic cuts were made on provisions for fuel, ballot boxes, projectors, stationary, transport personnel and coordinators among others.

In general, the carefully planned total budget of Sh. 543,318,420 covering stationery, ballots, personnel, machines was scaled down to Sh. 232,745,920. The reductions significantly changed the dynamics of the primaries as candidates of the five positions on offer whipped huge voter turn-outs in their areas. In the revised plan, most polling centres received 40% what they were originally supposed to get.

Scramble for printing tenders.
Top party officials with patronage of senior Jubilee leadership were also said to battle over the ballot printing tenders until the Office of DP reportedly took over to salvage the situation. Deputy President William Ruto will oversee the repeat of Jubilee Party primaries scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

President’s Intervention.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is the party leader, yesterday apologised to party voters in a speech at State House, blaming high turnout for the irregularities.

“To the millions of party faithful who turned out to vote, and to the thousands of party aspirants who turned out to compete for party tickets, we unreservedly apologise for our under-preparedness for the magnitude of the nominations exercise,” said Kenyatta.

After discussions, the party came out to explain that they had learnt from their lesson and they would explore all possible solutions included getting the latest IEBC register in its raw format.

A two-hour crisis meeting held at the party’s Pangani offices headed by DP Ruto resolved that ballot papers to cover the 8 million registered members would be printed afresh. To add on that more transport companies will be hired to ensure smooth distribution. The party said that they will use the party register and the IEBC roll.

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