The chief executive of Kenya’s electoral commission was charged on Wednesday over a $15 million tender for equipment that was meant to prevent vote fraud during March’s presidential election but broke down during the count. The new technology was aimed at avoiding the violent disputes that led to 1,200 deaths after the election five years ago. Previous votes in Kenya have also been dogged by “ghost” voters, stuffed ballot boxes and rigging at the final tally. As well as biometrically testing voter identity, it was meant to transmit the number of votes cast to a central tallying center – unlike in the past when votes were ferried manually from polling stations, increasing the chances of tampering.
Voting Blogs: Kenya 2013 elections: reflections on the Supreme Court ruling and the role of the judiciary in democratisation | openDemocracy
If the peaceful conduct of Kenya’s recent presidential elections was any kind of test of the development of the country’s new democratic culture, what happened in its aftermath bears even greater testimony to the fact that the culture of rule of law, democracy and constitutionalism may finally be taking root in Kenya as a nation and Kenyans as a people. After Kenya’s election body – the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of Kenya – declared Uhuru Kenyatta, son of Kenya’s first President, the winner of the March 4 presidential elections by a slim margin (50.07%), his main rival, Raila Odinga, seized the Supreme Court, contesting the results. Considering promises by all sides during the campaigns to respect the outcome of the process, Odinga’s unexpected volte face not only froze the electoral process; it also upped anxieties and fears – as people were reminded of the violent experience of the 2007 elections – on what this might mean in the event of a ruling confirming, or voiding, the IEBC results.
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.
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.
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.
On March 4th Kenyans went to the polls to elect the country’s 4th president, among other officials. Most polling stations opened on time at 6 AM. Some, however, opened late due to late arrival of voting materials or the failure of the biometric voter registration (BVR) kits that were used to identify voters before they cast their ballots. It was the first time that Kenya had implemented an electronic voter register, the previous manual register having had hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of ghost voters. It was also the first election following the enactment of a new constitution in 2010, which doubled the number of elective contests in the general election. With the botched 2007 general election still fresh on everyone’s mind, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) was keen on guarding the credibility of the process. The actual voting went relatively well. Besides a night attack on the eve of the election by a separatist group in the former Coast Province, there were no major incidents. Most polling stations closed at 5 PM and those that opened late were allowed to extend voting until 10 PM.
Kenya’s electoral commission has said it is auditing election results so far tallied to iron out discrepancies that have been detected. With 87% of constituencies declared from Monday’s vote, Uhuru Kenyatta retains a significant lead over his rival Prime Minister Raila Odinga. He has 50% of the vote, against 43.3% for Mr Odinga. A candidate needs more than 50% to avoid a run-off. Officials had said the results would be finalised on Friday. “There may have been errors and discrepancies here and there. Some we have already detected and we are working on them,” Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper quotes James Oswago, chief executive of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), as saying. … Mr Oswago’s announcement came after Mr Odinga’s Cord alliance had complained that the votes from 11 constituencies were missing from the 254 officially tallied so far, the Daily Nation reports. This meant that Mr Odinga was missing 281,611 votes compared to 25,863 for Mr Kenyatta for those constituencies, Cord said.
Uhuru Kenyatta, facing crimes against humanity charges, led Kenya’s presidential vote as the electoral commission rejected his opponent’s call to stop tallying because of flaws and alleged manipulation. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission said it had found no cases where votes cast exceeded the number of registered voters, as Prime Minister Raila Odinga’sCoalition for Reform and Democracy, or CORD, alleged earlier in the day, Chairman Issack Hassan said. “With the rigorous verification in place, there is no room to doctor the results whatsoever by any election official,” he told reporters in Nairobi, the capital. “We cannot stop tallying. This is a legal process.” Kenyatta, a deputy prime minister, received 3.13 million votes and Odinga got 2.56 million of the ballots declared from 45 percent of constituencies, according to the commission. Accusations by Odinga that he was robbed of victory in the last presidential election in December 2007 sparked two months of clashes that left more than 1,100 people dead and another 350,000 homeless.
Uhuru Kenyatta, facing charges of crimes against humanity, saw his lead in Kenya’s presidential vote narrow, after the electoral body rejected his opponent’s call for a recount because of flaws and alleged manipulation. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission found no cases where votes cast exceeded the number of registered voters, as Prime Minister Raila Odinga’sCoalition for Reform and Democracy alleged yesterday, Chairman Issack Hassan said. Kenyatta, a deputy prime minister, received 4.42 million votes to Odinga’s 3.94 million out of the ballots declared from 68 percent of constituencies, according to the commission. “With the rigorous verification in place, there is no room to doctor the results whatsoever by any election official,” Hassan told reporters in Nairobi, the capital. “We cannot stop tallying. This is a legal process.”
Kenya: President Obama’s Kenyan Brother Believes He’s Been a Victim of Possible Voter Fraud and ‘Racist’ Press Coverage | Politicker
Abong’o Malik Obama wants to have a career in politics like his half-brother, President Barack Obama. However, hours after the polls closed in Kenya’s elections last night, Mr. Obama said he wasn’t sure whether his bid to be governor of Siaya County was a success and he is concerned the election results may have been tampered with. He’s also extremely angry about tabloid coverage of his campaign. “It’s impossible to tell at this time, the whole system crashed,” Mr. Obama told Politicker when we called him Tuesday morning to inquire about the election. “We have no idea, it’s still hanging out there, and I myself am extremely disappointed and there is a high risk that the results may be manipulated.” Yesterday’s elections are the first under the 2010 Constitution of Kenya, which was ratified after the 2007 election ended with widespread violence and a disputed result. Though the voting yesterday proceeded largely without violence, there were reports of technical problems at many polling places. Mr. Obama said he stayed up late into the night and was given no information about the election result from officials. “I was sitting out there at the tallying center for the county up until almost 1 o’clock last night and there’s a complete blackout,” he explained.
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of Kenya has owned up to a technical hitch in its electronic result transmission that has delayed transmission of results from polling stations countrywide. CEO James Oswago explained that the hitch had been occasioned by a low disk space in one of its servers. To resolve the problem, IEBC’s engineers have added the disk capacity of the affected server, said Mr Oswago. Addressing a press conference at Bomas of Kenya, Mr Oswago gave an assurance that the system has improved its performance since the repairs were done. He also added that agents of respective presidential candidates had been fully briefed about the hitch.
Kenya has deployed tens of thousands of police to ensure peaceful elections, a police spokesman said. Charles Owino said on Sunday that 99,000 police were out on the streets of major cities and towns on the eve of presidential and parliamentary elections in the East African nation. The authorities hope the move will help avert a repeat of deadly violence that engulfed the country after disputed elections in December 2007. Voters on Monday will cast six ballots for the president, parliament, governors, senators, councillors and a special women’s list. Some 23,000 observers, including 2,600 international monitors, will be deployed, according to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). But watchdogs such as Human Rights Watch have warned that the risk of renewed political violence is “perilously high”.
The prospects of a trouble-free election in Kenya look increasingly uncertain. Kenyans go to the polls on 4 March for the first time since widespread post-election violence killed more than 1,000 people and brought the country to the brink of civil war in 2007-8. While President Kibaki has affirmed that this time the country is on track for fair and peaceful elections, indications from the ground suggest otherwise. The international community must be ready to respond to what may be a very chaotic and destabilising election period. The harsh reality is that Kenya is a more violent place than it was before the 2007 election. There has been a significant rise in group violence over the last year. For example, clashes in Tana River Delta during the second half of 2012 left more than 140 dead, while street protests in Mombasa in August 2012 killed four. While these incidents may be sparked by local grievances, there is evidence that local politicians are stoking the violence. Moreover, violent disturbances are already affecting the election process. The local party primaries in January were almost derailed in some areas by organised violence, including large-scale street fighting.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) looks set for the 4th March 2013 general election, having cleared the hurdle of accreditations for candidates and also released hotline numbers to be used during the voting and tallying day. The electoral commission has released two hotlines: 0711 035 606 and 0711 035 616 which was activated on Saturday night on a trial basis and also citizens are requested and encouraged to follow the IEBC twitter handle twitter.com/IEBC and post their questions on matters regarding the election.
Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has promised to organize a credible vote in the March 4th general election following a meeting with political parties. IEBC Commissioner Yusuf Nzibo says the electoral body has also updated its policies and practices to ensure the elections are peaceful and transparent. “We have procured the necessary verification machines to ensure that whoever turns up at the polling station on Election Day will be the person registered,” said Nzibo.
Kenya will have one of the world’s most expensive elections next year if electoral officials get their way. Standard Digital can report that taxpayers risk paying several times more per voter than people in other countries fork out. This raises serious questions on whether the proposed costs of the next General Election have been inflated. Officials with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission today rejected Sh17 billion set aside by Treasury for the planned March 4, 2013 poll. Instead, they are demanding Sh35 billion to conduct the first election under the new constitution as well as an anticipated run-off shortly thereafter. IEBC chairman Mr Isaack Hassan said if they plan the March 4, 2013 elections using the Sh17.5 billion Treasury has allocated the commission in the 2012/2013 budget, they will be forced to extend the election date by two or three days. He said the commission’s budget has a deficit of Sh23 billion and it will cost them at least Sh17.5billion to carry out a re-run in case of a tie in the presidential election.
The possible trial of Kenyan politicians for election violence is the biggest threat for a repeat of unrest at next year’s vote, the country’s electoral head said, hoping reforms and new technology will ease a “pressure cooker” of tensions. Next March’s election will be the first since a disputed poll in 2007 that triggered a politically-fuelled ethnic slaughter in which more than 1,220 people were killed. Any trouble in Kenya could hit investment, trade and transport in the east African economic powerhouse’s land-locked neighbors, especially Rwanda and Uganda, which rely on Mombasa port for imports of food, consumer goods and fuel. “As we move towards the election, it will become a pressure cooker,” said Ahmed Isaack Hassan, head of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) that will oversee the vote. “The issue of the International Criminal Court (ICC) process may bring some tensions. This is the only thing which stands out, we have to wait and see how it will impact the elections.”
The Justice and Legal Affairs Committee has faulted the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission for ignoring the recommendations of Parliament regarding the new electoral zones. Speaking to journalists in Parliament the acting chairman of the committee Njoroge Baiya, said that while the IEBC was an independent arm of government, it was duty-bound to make sure that most of the proposals from MPs were taken on board.
A row over boundaries for the new constituencies and county wards may derail the election calendar and make it impossible to have elections in December. A House committee and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission have both rejected the push for new wards and constituencies from most of the 500 petitioners, who had qualms with the commission’s proposals for the 290 constituencies and 1,450 wards. (READ: Did MPs create wards for themselves?) This failure to yield to the demands, according to acting chairman of the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, Mr Njoroge Baiya, will expose the process to mass litigation and open doors for a constitutional challenge on the time limit within which the Judiciary should determine petitions over delimitation. The worry over litigation arises out of an inconsistency in law, Mr Baiya told the Nation on Sunday.