1 January 2008

Kenya: Observers Say Vote Tallying Questionable

Nairobi — Domestic election observers have questioned the credibility of the vote tallying process at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in the 2007 elections.

The Kenya Elections Domestic Observers Forum (Kedof) said: "In our view, considering the entire electoral process, the 2007 General Election was credible in as far as the voting process is concerned.

The electoral process lost credibility towards the end with regard to the tallying and announcement of presidential results."

Kedof said there were serious discrepancies in figures released by the constituency tallying centres and those by ECK at the KICC in which President Kibaki was announced the winner.

Kedof said the confusion and violence that has engulfed the country was as a result of ECK's delay and the manner it handled the results.

The observers said the voting was free and fair and voters turned out in large numbers.

It however said, "The handling of the results of the polling and the rest of the process thereafter, in our opinion, was questionable".

Kedof said key ECK officers handled themselves in questionable manners.

Kedof gave their judgement of the process in its preliminary verdict on the elections on Monday.

It also criticised the eviction of journalists from private media houses and observers from the venue where ECK chairman, Mr Samuel Kivuitu, announced the results.

In the report presented at a press conference in Nairobi's Serena Hotel, the observers said the process was clear only up to the stage where the returning officers announced results at the constituency tallying centres.

Some of the discrepancies and illegalities, it noted, were disparities between the results released by ECK and those announced by returning officers in some regions like Central, Central Eastern and Rift Valley.

They also criticised reduction or suppression of results in a significant number of areas.

They questioned the illegal replacement of authentic Form 16A with photocopies, raising eyebrows on the authenticity of the results.

Kedof also questioned why the ECK chairman accepted results that were submitted illegally by some returning officers in cases where Form 16A was tampered with.

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