Lamu, KENYA: There was drama at the Lamu fort polling station after an elderly voter refused to be applied with indelible ink as a sign that he had voted saying its against his religious beliefs.
The 75 year old Ali Mohamed Miji who is known to be a very strict religious person, said his religion doesn’t allow him to paint his nails in any way and thus refused to be painted.
He said it was a sin to his God were he to paint his nail and added that he was worried that his prayers would not be accepted before Allah if he lifts a painted finger towards him.
Miji said he would not allow a mere election protocol which he rubbished of course to put asunder the ‘good’ relationship he had with his god.
“I don’t want that ink on my finger and in fact I will never accept it.How do I lift my hands to Allah in prayer when one of my fingers is painted and I know very well that it’s a sin?If I do son that means I burn in hell fire and that’s not my portion.I wont have the ink period.Voting shouldn’t put me at war with my God,”said Miji.
It took the intervention of the presiding officer at the centre who maintained that he had to have his small finger nail painted with the ink as that was protocol failure to which he wouldn’t be allowed to leave the station.
Family members had to also intervene and convince the elderly man to ‘just accept and be painted and go home’.
A dejected Miji half heatedly gave in after his pleas to be ‘spared from hell fire’ fell on deaf ears and finally had his little finger inked.
He left the station cursing and praying for Allah’s forgiveness at the same time.
Meanwhile, there have been numerous cases of some ballot papers containing suspicious marks.
A number of voters and agents complained that some ballot papers appeared to have already been faintly marked.
They expressed worry that ballots might be counted as spoilt votes during the final tallying and asked the IEBC to consider such during the final tally.
“The marks are very visible and located inside the box where the ticks are supposed to be.Meaning however much you try,the tick will stick outside the box.We raised the issue with the IEBC and they assured as that as long as the tick is well placed,the votes will still be tallied but I must say we are worried.Why would such an error occur.Its like the ballots have already been used you know. Thats fishy,”said Abdullah Wallei.
According to the returning officer at the Lamu fort polling centre Hawa Bile,the marks could be errors from printing but added that with proper voting,they would still be valid for the final tally.
“We are aware that some ballot papers have some marks but we have advised accordingly and have also assured the affected that their votes will be counted,” said Bile.
There was also drama at the same polling station when gubernatorial aspirant Fahim Twaha stormed the centre breathing fire and claiming that his votes were being stolen.
Twaha who is of the Jubilee party, threw tantrums accusing an ANC party agent of trying to steal his votes and at some point even engaged him physically and threw a few punches before police intervened and threw the two out and asked them to stay 400 meters away.
There have also been numerous incidents of missing names where voters have been turned away after the BVR machines failed to detect their names and the subsequent protocol also failed to enable them vote.
Many wondered why their names couldn’t be traced yet they were valid voters and ensured to revise the register when it was availed months back before the elections.
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