In Summary
  • But the Court of Appeal wondered why Nasa was going to court days before the elections and dismissed the case.
  • Mr Odinga wanted the IEBC tallying centre at Bomas of Kenya to have little say in tallying the results.
  • Kiems was to hold data on voter and candidate registration, voter verification and result transmission.

When President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the controversial Election Laws (Amendment) Bill into law in January this year and allowed the use of a manual back-up in case the electronic system failed, the Opposition threatened to call for mass action.

The law allowed the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to use “a complementary mechanism for identification of voters and transmission of election results” in case the gadgets failed.

Although the commission’s CEO Ezra Chiloba said voters would be  identified electronically, and that the manual system would only be used in the event that the former failed, the Opposition claimed that a manual voting system would allow ghost voters to participate in the elections, and termed the laws a plot by Jubilee to rig.

The circus on the kind of electoral system that Kenya should embrace has been windy and controversial.

The Nasa presidential candidate wanted only an electronic system, with no manual back-up, and his lawyer Paul Mwangi went to court to compel IEBC to stop the plan.

MANUAL SYSTEM

Mr Mwangi told the High Court that “one of the dangers of the manual system is that it has no inbuilt mechanism to stop fraud (and) is open to manipulation”.

But the Court of Appeal wondered why Nasa was going to court days before the elections and dismissed the case.

Another issue that had been raised by the Odinga presidential team was on the transmission of results and the finality of presidential tally announced by constituency returning officers.

Mr Odinga wanted the IEBC tallying centre at Bomas of Kenya to have little say in tallying the results.

When the matter went to the Court of Appeal, it ruled that there were sufficient safeguards at the constituency tallying centres in the form of observers, agents and accredited media, and ruled that results declared there should be final.

It thus upheld a High Court’s finding that the presidential election results as announced by the 290 constituency returning officers are final and denied the IEBC chairman any power to alter or vary the results after they are electronically submitted to the national tallying centre.

IRREGULARITIES

The court argued that this ruling was as a result of the “lessons” of the 1992, 1997 and 2007 elections which were marred by irregularities.

“There was near unanimity in opinion that, since the first level of declaration of results is at the polling station, those results should be final and only be challenged in a court,” they ruled.

It is this ruling that is now informing the current transmission of results and which had been hailed by Mr Odinga as “a huge step” (since) “IEBC would not change results from constituencies.

The trick of Jubilee to rig in the polls will not prevail this time round. They will go home in August,” he said.

In the current election, the IEBC had looked for a system, Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (Kiems), whose aim was to make sure that it was secure and transparent.

Kiems was to hold data on voter and candidate registration, voter verification and result transmission.

BIOMETRIC VOTER REGISTRATION

It also integrated the existing biometric voter registration, the biometric voter identification, the electronic result transmission and the political party and candidate registration systems.

The Kiems tablets were configured to reject entries that exceed the voter turnout in respective polling centres making it impossible to cast more votes than a station is allowed.

The system was capable of transmitting the text results and the results declaration form that is scanned.

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