In Summary

  • Article 81 of the Constitution demands that elections be fair, free and credible, and must be administered in an efficient, transparent, impartial and accountable manner.
  • Human rights lawyer, Harun Ndubi argues that the management of elections reflects none of these definitions.
  • The 2007 poll instance was the most discredited, leading to post-poll mayhem that claimed more than 1,000 lives.  
  • Now Presidential term limits have been stipulated and a date of the elections set in the Constitution.

The famous quote, “those who cast the vote decide nothing but those who count the vote decide everything,” by Russian strongman Joseph Stalin seems to mirror Kenya’s elections that have, over the years, been dogged by rigging claims.

This year, like in previous instances, the main allegation by the opposition Nasa was manipulation of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) electronic results transmission system.

Other claims revolved around “dead voters,” ballot stuffing and manual alteration of poll figures.

Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga, summed it thus: “The fraud Jubilee has perpetuated on Kenyans surpasses any level of voter theft in our country’s history.

This time we caught them,” he claimed on Thursday. 

Thirdway Alliance Presidential candidate Ekuru Aukot  also weighed in earlier in the week: “The integrity of this democratic exercise and not the declaration of a winner and losers is what is most important. And we need to invest in credible elections to ensure Kenya remains peaceful.”

OPPOSITION

IEBC has, however, dismissed claims by the opposition that its systems were hacked. Former Presidents, Thabo Mbeki (South Africa), John Mahama (Ghana) and US presidential candidate in 2001, John Kerry, led election observer teams in crediting the electoral commission for “a job well done” on voting day.

Nasa has since criticised the observer teams of “rushing to endorse a fraudulent exercise.”

Article 81 of the Constitution demands that elections be fair, free and credible, and must be administered in an efficient, transparent, impartial and accountable manner.

Human rights lawyer, Harun Ndubi argues that the management of elections reflects none of these definitions.

“IEBC seems to have found a mechanism to subvert the law to go around the decision of the Court of Appeal declaring that results realised at polling stations are final. By rushing to release numbers that are not supported by evidence in form 34A, they have demonstrated the thirst by IEBC and the incumbency to subvert the constitution and the people’s will,” Mr Ndubi told the Nation, adding that there appeared to have been a scheme to display the unverified data.

But the head of the European Union’s (EU) election observer mission in Kenya, Marietje Schaake, pointed out on Thursday that her team had seen no signs of “centralised or localised manipulation” of the voting process.

FLOUTING LAW

This position is shared by IEBC chairman, Wafula Chebukati, who defended the commission against claims of flouting the law by directly releasing poll figures from polling stations before adding and verifying them at constituency level.    

While appreciating Kenya’s electoral reforms, the EU official observed that Kenyans had placed a lot of hope in the electronic systems without investing in the all-important virtue of trust.

Electronic devices alone, she observed, cannot effectively address Kenya’s electoral shortcomings.

Since independence, the electoral process has progressively been reformed with the view of making it transparent, just and credible.

But the more the process has evolved the more sophisticated alleged rigging has become.

The 2007 poll instance was the most discredited, leading to post-poll mayhem that claimed more than 1,000 lives.  

From the 1960s through to the 1980s when the government – a highly interested party – played the referee in General Election to today where the exercise is executed by an independent legal entity, Kenya has come a long way in reforming the electoral process.

TRANSPARENT

But the more the process has been made fair and transparent, the more politicians and their agents have come up with ingenious and sophisticated avenues of poll rigging.

At independence, for instance, election malpractices were characterised by simple, plain and less intelligent tricks executed mainly by use of force.

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