Photo taken on Oct. 26, 2017 shows Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta casting his vote in repeat presidential elections. (Xinhua/Chen Cheng)
NAIROBI, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Voting in Kenya's repeat presidential polls began on Thursday as some polling stations, mainly in opposition strongholds, reported disruptions and low voter turnout.
At Soweto Primary School in the east of Nairobi, enthusiastic voters turned up as early as 5 a.m. and waited to cast their ballot in an exercise that was largely incident-free.
"This time round things are easy, you go in there, give them your identity and voters card, they check your name in the register, then you are given the ballot paper. It is just one paper which makes work easier," said Bernard Kamau, a cooking gas trader.
Voting, similarly, went on without hitch at Moi Avenue Primary School in the central business district, where a long queue was witnessed early morning.
However, the queue at the station with 14,000 registered voters, the highest in the country, was shorter than what was witnessed during the Aug. 8 polls, when the queue stretched as far as 2 km by 6 a.m.
In central Kenya and the Rift Valley, President Uhuru Kenyatta's strongholds, turnout Thursday was massive with supporters keen to see him secure a second term.
Big crowds of voters were witnessed in Nyeri, Nakuru, Eldoret, Meru, Kiambu and Nyandarua, among other places where Kenyatta commands huge following.
"We are offering free ride to anyone who wants to go and vote. We want these elections to succeed so that we can go on with our lives," said Kingori, a matatu driver in Kayole on the east of Nairobi.
However, opposition strongholds of western parts of Nairobi, Coast and Eastern Kenya registered low turnout this morning, with some centers recording fewer than 10 voters over an hour after stations opened.
Some places witnessed disruptions as youths blocked roads and polling centers to prevent people from voting.
In Kisumu, opposition leader Raila Odinga's bastion, no voting went on early morning as election officials noted that voting materials, including ballot papers, had not been distributed for fear of violence.
Most presiding officers and poll clerks in the lakeside city had also withdrawn from the process for fear of reprisal from residents.
The same scenario was seen in Siaya, Homa Bay and Migori counties, where voting failed to kick off early Thursday morning in most polling stations.
In Kibera, a slum in the capital Nairobi, angry youths chained the gates of Olympic Primary School to prevent voters from accessing the polling center. Police dispersed them and later opened the school.
In Busia and Bungoma counties, where Kenyatta has some considerable following, polling centers opened as scheduled but voters largely kept off.
"We have been here for about an hour but served only two people since we opened at six. Perhaps it is because of the boycott but it has also been raining heavily, what also made people to keep off because they can not queue in the rains," said a poll clerk.
Kenya has nearly 20 million registered voters, according to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, who are expected to vote in Thursday polls that Odinga boycotted citing failure to effect electoral changes.
Many citizens expect that the elections would end a political stalemate that had gripped the country for the last two months since the Supreme Court invalidated Aug. 8 polls citing irregularities.