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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Raila urges both sides to accept voters' verdict

Prime Minister Raila Odinga has asked the two sides in the referendum divide to be ready to accept the voters’ verdict.

The PM spoke at the Bomas of Kenya which has been turned into the National Referendum Tallying Centre after casting his vote at Old Kibera primary school.

“The campaigns have been conducted peacefully. I am satisfied with what my team did but this is a game where you can either win or lose,” the PM said after being taken through the tallying process by staff at the Interim Independent Electoral Commission.

Mr Odinga said the referendum was a historic moment and urged Kenyans to come out to cast their votes.

“This is a historic occasion for all Kenyans and each (eligible) citizen should put his or her name in history books as having participated in this process,” he said.

The IIEC chief executive officer James Oswago took the PM through the tallying process which the commission expects to start soon after the polls close across the country.

The IIEC, Mr Oswago said, would give national, provincial and constituency breakdown of the referendum results.

The Commission also assured Mr Odinga that the referendum materials that were headed to Garsen and Turkana central constituencies were safe. A boat ferrying election materials to Garsen nearly capsized after water started seeping through.

Another boat was sent to its rescue. In Turkana Central, staff who were ferrying the materials were involved in a road accident that left some of them injured.

IIEC chairman Issack Hassan told the media on Wednesday that a helicopter was sent to airlift the materials.

The PM who was accompanied by his wife Idah said he was impressed by the turn out and asked that the sick, the old and the disabled be assisted to vote.

“The Commission has done a commendable job. We are coming from a history of disaster and now we want to move forward smoothly,” he said.

Meanwhile, security at Bomas continues to be beefed up. Several General Service Unit personnel continue to be deployed to the national tallying centre as the polls near closure at 5pm.

Members of dreaded GSU were brought in trucks and a bus. At the same time, police on horseback are also on standby as the country awaits the outcome of the referendum two years after the deadly post-election violence in 2007 and 2008.

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