Lamu,KENYA:There was a stand off for close to two hours at the Lamu West Constituency tallying centre at Mokowe Arid Zone primary school on Tuesday night when a presiding officer in one of the polling stations unfilled forms and BVR machines accompanying ballot boxes as required by law.
The stand off began at around 4.30am to 6.20am before IEBC officials,party agents and the candidates agreed to have the form filled at the tallying centre.
It all started when presiding officer at the Mokowe primary school polling station II Zipporah Kerubo submitted forms and BVR kits that hadn’t been dully filled as expected by law.
The forms and kits which accompany ballot boxes after close of an election exercise are supposed to be dully formed by the presiding officer before being submitted to the constituency tallying centre.
The presiding officer in question, Zipporah Kerubo broke down and wept after agents and candidates at the tallying centre demanded an explanation for the malpractice which they termed deliberate and suspicious.
They also accused her of malice and planning to steal votes.
When asked why the forms were unfilled and entered into the BVR machines are expected,the PO claimed she experienced challenges filling them since there was no network at her polling station and that she couldn’t understand most of the wording and as such was unable to fill the forms and kits.
The standoff brought the tallying exercise to a standstill for over two hours as agents and candidates demanded a solution to the matter while the PO wept loudly all through.
She cried and loudly begged for forgiveness amidst sobs surprising those present at the centre.
According to the IEBC laws,it’s a malpractice for such a form to be moved from any given polling station before first being entered into the BVR kits.
“Please forgive me.I just was unable to do it and not for any other malicious reason.My station had issues with network otherwise I would have done it.I wont repeat such please forgive me,”sobbed Kerubo.
As a result,IEBC officials at the centre had to hold an emergency sitting with all agents and candidates after which it was agreed that Kerubo be assisted to fill the form and enter it into the BVR.
“To avoid questions and unnecessary speculations,we decided to be open about the issue.I am glad that all concerned parties came to an agreement,”said Lamu West returning officer Abdalla Chikophe.