Riots over unused 'IEBC materials' found in University

Friday March 15 2013

Kenyatta University students rummage through suspected election materials that was found at the institution. PHOTO /  DENISH OCHIENG

Kenyatta University students rummage through suspected election materials that was found at the institution. PHOTO / DENISH OCHIENG 

By Abiud Ochieng’ [email protected]

Kenyatta University students on Friday went on the rampage after unused election materials were discovered in the institution.

The students smashed windows and broke into the Business Students Service Centre where the materials had been kept.

However, the administration explained that the materials were in a room that had been used as a tallying centre by the IEBC.

The commission had hired the university facilities from February 22 to March 15 and election officials were to clear up yesterday when the rental ended.

Mr Paul Ochieng’, a student, said they  became suspicious after noticing “strange people entering and leaving a room that had been “out of bounds”.

“We became suspicious at around 3pm when we noticed some people walking in and out of the room but they are not staffers. It was then that we moved to the building and saw the IEBC documents through the window,” said Mr Ochieng.

The students also burned down two vehicles alleged to belong to the IEBC.

Kenyatta University vice chancellor Olive Mugenda, however, said the materials were in the institution because it was used as a tallying centre.

“IEBC hired the premises on February 22 up to March 15. I’m informed IEBC was to clear the room today but word went round through the social media that votes were being tallied there. The students reacted and demanded to know what IEBC staff were doing,” Prof Mugenda said.

Inspector-General David Kimaiyo confirmed the institution was used by the electoral authorities.

“The venue was used as a tallying centre and we have been told that some materials were left there. We have also been informed that ballot boxes and papers used in the mock election, prior to the General Election had also been left there,” he said.

Meanwhile, Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba said the IEBC should have been at the scene after they were informed of the discovery.

“These materials are supposed to be at the Bomas of Kenya to be given to our lawyers,” he said.

The IEBC materials included jackets, stamps, marker pens, ballot boxes, ballot papers for presidential, governor and women representative for Nairobi  County.