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 Friday, 27 December, 2002, 23:23 GMT
Election diary: Mombasa holds its breath
Election officials count votes
There are dangers of rigging during the counting phase

Polling stations have closed and the counting has begun.

Mombasa - and the whole of Kenya - is holding its breath.

By midnight, the true picture of today's voting will emerge.

Officials count votes
'Do not be hurried up unnecessarily'
Or perhaps not.

This is a crucial stage where elections are won or lost in Kenya.

Ballot papers suddenly going missing or ballot boxes being stuffed with new ones in transit to centralised counting halls.

This time round counting is being done in polling stations - reducing the chances of rigging by a regime its critics say thrived on it.

No chances taken

On its part, the main opposition group, Narc, is not taking any chances. Its polling agents stand out in counting halls, smartly dressed and sporting gold badges with huge fonts.

Before counting, Narc sent out anti-rigging notes to its agents:

  • Do not be hurried up unnecessarily, as this is how the stealing of votes is done.
  • Watch out for policemen in jungle jackets: there are plans to stuff those pockets with marked ballot papers.
  • Carry your own food or drink and do not accept offers from anyone. You may be drugged so that you cannot do your work.
So opposition supporters can sleep well tonight... Their votes will be safe.

I won't.

I will be out there - criss-crossing polling stations on this island hugged by the Indian Ocean - looking for polling agents drugging other polling agents and policemen in jungle jackets.

No food or drinks, please.

Click here to read Gray Phombeah's previous election diary
Kenyans choose a new president

Key stories

Inauguration day

Moi steps down

Background

INTERACTIVE GUIDE

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING POINT
See also:

24 Dec 02 | Africa
23 Dec 02 | Africa
17 Dec 02 | Africa
13 Dec 02 | Media reports
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