18 February 2013

Kenya: Observer Group to Conduct Parallel Vote Tally

The Elections Observation Group (ELOG) has announced that it will carry out Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) during next month's general election.

Institute for Education in Democracy (IED) Executive Director Peter Alingo says the move is intended to bolster public confidence in the election results.

"We are concerned about the nuances in electoral politics particularly issues around election results so we would like to utilise PVT to remove any uncertainty."

"We as independent observers are therefore able to provide a validation of the election results."

ELOG will use provisional results from randomly selected polling stations in their projections.

Alingo is confident their projections will accurately reflect those released by the IEBC as they did during the 2010 constitutional referendum - the first time ELOG carried out PVT.

"When we conducted PVT for the constitutional referendum...we were able to project 68.8 for 'Yes' compared to the 68.6 percent announced by IEBC (Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission)."

While ELOG acknowledges it is not mandated to announce election results, Alingo says they will not hesitate to question the election results should they be remarkably different from their projections.

"Where the final results do not fall within the margin of error then we will not shy away or compromise our mandate as a citizen's platform."

A stand which ELOG's Chairperson Kennedy Masime fully supports: "A controversial distinction has been made between election observation and election monitoring but as a citizen's group we are doing both. In a sense that we are involved in the process and can intervene if need be."

ELOG is made up of various Civil Society Organisations and Faith Based Organisations including the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM), the National Council of Churches in Kenya (NCCK), Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and IED.

The partner organisations will deploy 7,000 observers on Election Day having already sent out 500 long term observers.

"The long term observers will give reports on the entire election cycle keeping an eye and ear out for voter bribery, misuse of government resources, hate speech and other electoral malpractices."

Parallel Vote Tabulation was also carried out in the December 7 Ghanaian election and in neighbouring Uganda's 2011 election.

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