28 February 2013

Kenya: Iebc Warns Parties Not to Release Poll Results

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has warned political parties and campaign teams from declaring their own results of the Monday elections. Commission chairman Issack Hassan yesterday said the campaign teams were however free to set up their own tallying centres.

"This Commission has been tried and tested and is capable. We want to ask the candidates and parties to abide by the electoral code of conduct that they signed. They are free to set up their own tallying arrangements but the final announcement of the results is the constitutional responsibility of the IEBC," Issack said yesterday when meeting with a joint election observer mission from the East African Community, IGAD and COMESA.

He said the commission had already distributed most of the election materials to the 33,400 polling stations, except the 'strategic' ones comprising of ballot papers.

The ballot papers, Hassan said, would start being distributed today under strict security and held securely until Monday. Hassan also defended the Commission's electronic results transmission system, calling on politicians not to use the glitches that occurred during a demonstration to political parties to heighten anxiety.

"People should not create unnecessary tensions. This is a secure virtual private Network (VPN) that we have obtained from Safaricom and it's encrypted with a special Internet Protocol address," Isaack explained.

Hassan said the commission had also set up two back-up systems and pit in place security measures in case of system failure. "This is the system we used in 2010 referendum and the 16 by-elections, so why should people suddenly become suspicious," he said.

Sarah Elderkin, a freelance journalist and a communication consultant for CORD presidential candidate Raila Odinga last week raised a number of flaws with the IEBC's ERT system in an opinion article published in The Star.

Similar concerns about the system's fail-safe measures as well as capacity, access and security were also raised by the Election Observation Group member Peter Aling'o who is also the executive director for the Institute for Education in Democracy.

Former East African Legislative Assembly Speaker Abdulrahman Kinana who spoke on behalf of the EAC-Igad-Comesa joint observer mission said they will deploy 78 observers to 24 counties across the country. The mission will be in the country until March 8.

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