By Raymond Baguma
Kenyans nationals who are residents in Uganda on Monday participated in the presidential elections by casting their votes at the diplomatic mission in Kampala.
Polls were conducted in Kenya with the election of the president, senators and members of parliament, county governors and representatives to the newly-formed county assembly.
The voters began arriving at the Kenyan High Commission in Kololo as early as 6:00am where a polling station had been established. By 11:00am when The New Vision visited the polling station, at least 200 people had cast their vote.
The polling station consisted of a tent erected in the diplomatic mission’s parking yard, where nationals arrived and went through a check-point before they were guided to the queue.
Edgar Aswani the communication officer of the Independent Election and Boundary Commission (IEBC) said that there were 960 registered Kenyan voters in Uganda.
“There have been no hitches. We started at 6am and are hoping to close at 5pm. Registration was done in December last year,” said Aswani.
However, there were 10 people who were turned away from the polling station and did not vote.
The Presiding officer Jacqueline Warubui Waiguchi explained that some of the people turned away had registered elsewhere and could not be identified in the register in Uganda. They were advised to go to the polling stations where they were registered.
Sarah Buwembo a Kenyan national who is married to a Ugandan and has lived in Uganda for 15 years said, “Voting is okay, we are happy it is organized and they are guiding us very well.”
Fr. Sylvester Arinaitwe, the Executive Secretary of the Uganda Join Christian Council (UJCC) who was an election observer at the polling station said that Uganda needs to emulate Kenya to enable Ugandans in the diaspora to participate in elections.
“In Uganda, we also need to go a step ahead electronically. We also need an independent Electoral Commission to carry out elections transparently. It’s also a step ahead for Kenya to allow people who live within the East African Community to vote, and provided them with logistics needed to bring all the materials,” Fr. Arinaitwe said.
The UJCC in a statement said that they are monitoring elections in Kenya and at the Kenyan High Commission in Kampala to ensure that Kenyans express their constitutional rights and elect leaders of their choice in a peaceful manner.