IEBC results: We’ve more questions than answers

Tuesday August 22 2017

President Uhuru Kenyatta after being declared

President Uhuru Kenyatta after being declared the winner of presidential polls with 54.27 per cent of votes, beating his rival Raila Odinga who scored 44.74 percent, the IEBC on August 11, 2017. PHOTO | JOHN MUCHUCHA | AFP 

By MUTHONI WANYEKI
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Wednesday’s announcement could have been underwhelming, considering public expectation the National Super Alliance would use it to share the findings of its election data centres.

It didn’t, but that was mitigated by its surprising statement that it would be proceeding to the Supreme Court.

However, on August 17, the civil society umbrella, Kura Yangu Sauti Yangu, shared its analysis of “results” announced by the IEBC’s chair as compared with “results” on the IEBC’s portal as well as analysis of a sample of 1,400 Forms 34A from its monitors and those on the IEBC’s portal.

Its initial conclusions are alarming.

First, total registered voters as per the IEBC’s chair’s declaration were 25,638 more than the 19,611,423 contained in the certified voter register. Where did the additional 25,638 come from?

Second, voter turnout, as per the IEBC’s chair’s declaration, was 512,739 less than voter turnout on the IEBC’s portal. Where did over half a million votes disappear to?

Third, the presidential “results’” declared by the IEBC chair are different from those on the IEBC’s portal in every county. Worse, the presidential “results” contained in the Forms 34A do not match the “results” in the Forms 34B in no less than 255 constituencies.

What does this initial release of KYSY information tell us? One reading is that the 2017 presidential elections were conducted back-to-front.

Instead of building the “results” up from the polling to the constituency to the national level, the IEBC has declared unverifiable figures and is now working backwards to construct as plausible “results” as possible from the national level, back through the constituency to the polling station level.

This possible reading is supported by the unavailability of Forms 34A when all Forms 34B are out.

Yet, Forms 34A—which are meant to be in the very expensive, touted as fool-proof, transmission part of the Kenya Integrated Electoral Management System — are still unavailable.

We are left with more questions than answers.

If the effort to cast our vote is to be more than empty ritual, these questions must be answered for us all. The IEBC is obliged to provide us these answers.

As taxpayers, we contributed no small amount to the estimated Ksh54 billion ($540 million) cost of these elections.

We do not have the complacency of the regional and international elections “observation” industry — and the diplomatic missions that support it. We do not live comparatively or in a state of historical relativity.

We reject the argument that we are better off than we were and better off than our neighbours. As a colleague put it, we do not accept democracy is to be “progressively realised.”

Thus, if the IEBC does not give us these answers, then we need a fully independent, preferably regionalised or internationalised, forensic investigation into all these matters.

This isn’t about what NASA may produce in court. It’s about our right to vote. It’s about our vote being respected. It is about our democracy — for which so many have struggled so hard and so long.


L. Muthoni Wanyeki is Amnesty International’s regional director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes