The Technical University of Kenya recently held elections on Thursday on 13th October that have raised much media attention and public outcry for what has been termed has ‘rigging competition’. The elections, according to our reporter and trusted sources were characterized by massive rigging, forceful deposit of fake ballot papers and tallying number doctoring.
Like any other university, TUK holds its elections yearly with voting done in secret ballot managed by the university’s electoral board. This time was no different only that the rigging was so massive that a candidate would steal up to more than 1500 votes. This sounds catastrophically exaggerated, but nonetheless numbers don’t lie. Some agents, against which their candidates’ votes were stolen, were beaten and thrown out of the electoral polling stations. Thereafter, fake ballot papers would be staffed into the ballot boxes causing tension at various stations. Security and police who manned the elections were seemingly confused by the mayhem that occurred as they struggled to contain the situation and occasionally police threatened to fire up bullets. This transpired throughout the day in which later, during counting, upto 10 folded ballot papers were found at several stations while returning officers were forced to count the papers by goons alleged to be controlling affairs in the school for several years now.
Earlier, aspirants had been demanded to each contribute up to Ksh 25,000 by school goons if they wanted a peaceful campaign. A demonstration was called on 29th September which forced the administration to close down the school gym which harbored them.
During announcement of the elections after tallying, tension heightened with rigging students being declared winners. According to our reporters who are students at TUK, the whole executive posts of the union were rigged winners these posts being the Chairman, Deputy Chairman, Secretary General, academic secretary Finance Secretary, Social welfare, Constitutional Affairs and Gender Affairs secretary. Later the following day, swearing in was hurriedly done despite petitions being presented early that morning to the Dean preventing the process. Disappointed aspirants together with their supporters have now decided to go legal over the electoral board, Dean and the University’s Legal office for infringement of the school constitutional rights anddismissal of petitions.
The irregularity is evident from the results posted online on the school portal with votes casted being at 3785 while at the same time the total number of votes casted being 5021 for chairman and varying for other posts. This has been seen as a definite act of impunity while students have continued to lose confidence in the administration. Last year we reported a case of suspended students who demonstrated against accreditation of engineering courses.
There’s high tension with normal classes likely to be interrupted on Monday. Evidence of marked fake ballot papers, 80 fake IDs that had been seized by the police have been collected and are to be presented as evidence if a court case is to be filed.