Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) has come under criticism after the Supreme Court confirmed the electoral victory of President Uhuru Kenyatta. But IEBC Commissioner Yusuf Nzibo says the criticisms are unjustified because the commission faced various challenges during the March general election. Critics say the IEBC oversaw a flawed voting process, which they contend led to an election dispute that was finally settled by the Supreme Court. They also said the electoral commission failed to adequately educate voters in the run up to the vote. Nzibo disagrees.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Kenya.
Senior officials of Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) plan to meet Thursday to review its performance following last month’s general election. The meeting comes after judges of the Supreme Court recommended investigation and prosecution of any IEBC officers found responsible for failure of an electronic voter identification system during and after the balloting. Critics say the failures undermined the integrity of the voting results. “We recommend that this matter be entrusted to the relevant state agency, for further investigation and possible prosecution of suspects,” the Supreme Court judges said.
Calm returned to the western Kenyan stronghold of defeated presidential candidate Raila Odinga on Monday after two days of running battles with police following the Supreme Court’s confirmation of his rival Uhuru Kenyatta as president-elect. Two people were shot dead in the unrest, but the violence was on a much smaller scale than the nationwide bloodshed that followed the 2007 election when the western city of Kisumu was one of the places worst affected places by deadly riots. This year there was little sign of any violence beyond Kisumu, which strongly backs Odinga, reflecting a desire by Kenyans to avoid a repeat of the bloodshed that badly damaged their economy, east Africa’s biggest, five years ago. A busy bus station that had been deserted since the rioting began on Saturday was once again bustling as passengers scrambled to board minibuses as they disgorged dozens returning from rural areas where they had fled for fear of violence. “Business is booming today. The demand has gone up and fares doubled since many are returning from home and others leaving for various places,” said Bonny Otieno, 32, transporter. “Politics is over and we’ve embarked on nation building.”
Kenya’s Supreme Court ordered a recount of ballots at 22 polling stations in this month’s presidential election and said it will analyze return forms as it decides on a challenge to the outcome of the vote. Raila Odinga, the outgoing prime minister, filed a petition in the nation’s highest court after he lost the March 4 election to Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s first president. Odinga has asked the court to overturn the result, saying the balloting was riddled with fraud and irregularities. “The re-tally shall aim at establishing whether the number of votes cast in each of these 22 polling stations exceeds the number of registered voters,” Justice Smokin Wanjala said at a pretrial hearing today in Nairobi, the capital. Turnout was a record 86 percent of 14.3 million registered voters across about 31,000 polling stations.
A lawyer for Kenya’s election commission cited the U.S. Supreme Court case Bush vs. Gore on Thursday during arguments before a Kenya Supreme Court that must now rule on the outcome of this East African country’s presidential election. Ahmednasir Abdullahi told Kenya’s highest court Thursday it should adhere to judicial restraint and uphold the March 4 result from Kenya’s election commission showing that Uhuru Kenyatta won with 50.07 percent of the March 4 vote. Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the runner-up with 43 percent, and civil society groups are asking the court to order a new election because it wasn’t free and fair. The court is expected to rule by Saturday. Abdullahi quoted U.S. Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer, who wrote after hearing the 2000 case that decided that U.S. presidential election, that the appearance of a split court on a highly politicized case risks undermining public confidence in the court.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has come under increased criticism for the manner in which it handled the March 4 poll. Counsel George Oraro acting for the Cord coalition and presidential candidate Raila Odinga said that the IEBC failed in three areas: the voter registration process, the actual voting process with regards to form 34 and form 36, and the failure by the IEBC to transmit the votes electronically. Oraro said that the process of voter registration was improperly done and that it is still not clear how many people were registered last October. He alleged that with the lack of a principal register, the number of number of registered voters was as yet unknown. Oraro further argued that the unsigned form 34 meant that the actual number of voters could not be verified.
Kenya’s Supreme Court hears a petition on Wednesday challenging the victory by Uhuru Kenyatta in this month’s presidential election, a case that will test Kenyan democracy five years after a disputed vote ignited tribal violence. Peaceful voting on March 4 went a long way to restoring Kenya’s reputation as one of Africa’s more stable democracies, reinforced when losing candidate Raila Odinga took his challenge to court rather than letting it play out on the streets. But the final test will come on Saturday, the deadline for the court to announce its ruling after petition hearings on Wednesday and Thursday. That is when the court will decide whether to uphold Kenyatta’s win or order another vote.
Lawyers challenging Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in the Kenyan presidential election said on Wednesday new technology meant to counter fraud had broken down, leading to a manipulated vote count. Losing candidate Raila Odinga is contesting the result in court and both sides have agreed to accept the outcome. A disputed vote five years ago ignited tribal violence that dented Kenya’s reputation as a stable democracy but the presidential election on March 4 took place without bloodshed, reports Reuters. Lawyers for Odinga told the Supreme Court that the failure of an electronic system to transmit numbers from polling stations to a tallying centre and the breakdown of other equipment had undermined the chances of a transparent vote. “The voting system was prone to manipulation in the absence of electronic voter identification,” said Odinga’s lead counsel, George Oraro. “Tallying was manipulated to achieve certain results.”
Kenya’s Supreme Court on Monday ordered a partial recount of ballots from the March 4 presidential election after losing candidate Raila Odinga alleged there were more votes cast at some polling stations than there were registered voters. A swift and transparent resolution of the dispute that has unnerved the stock market is seen as critical to restoring the reputation of Kenya as a stable democracy after violence following the 2007 election left more than 1,200 dead. This year’s election passed peacefully though and went a long way to restoring Kenya’s image. International observers said the voting was broadly credible, but the count then went for five days and monitors did not follow the entire process. Odinga has said there was “rampant illegality” in the first-round victory of his long-term rival Uhuru Kenyatta. The son of Kenya’s founding president, Kenyatta said the voting was “free and fair”. Adjudicating between the two political heavyweights is seen as a major test for the country’s reformed judiciary.
Kenyan presidential contender Raila Odinga didn’t provide tangible evidence to support his challenge to the outcome of the election, a voting official said. Chairman of the Kenyan Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Issack Hassan declared Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta beat Prime Minister Odinga in the March 4 election.