7 March 2013

Kenya: Cord Rejects Manual Tally of Poll Results

Prime Minister Raila Odinga's Cord has threatened legal action if the IEBC resorts to manual transmission of presidential election results to the national tallying centre.

Cord coordinating committee chairman Franklin Bett said the subsidiary legislation developed by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission provides that the results shall be submitted both electronically and manually.

Bett said forms 34 and 35 make the two systems of delivery "distinct and inter-dependent". He however called for peace and calm as the IEBC technicians rectify the hitch.

"The two systems were developed for cross-checking purposes. The electronic method reflects provisional results conveyed by returning officers. The manual system must confirm the provisional results. Therefore, Cord wants to be part of the solution not blame-game," Bett said at the Bomas of Kenya.

On Tuesday night, IEBC chairman Isaack Hassan said the commission had resorted to the manual delivery of presidential results after its systems failed.

Following the move, all the 290 returning officers were required to start submitting their returns to the IEBC by yesterday to forestall any delays in announcing the presidential results.

However, the IEBC chairman failed to explain why the commission had gone against its earlier undertaking to announce the presidential results first.

By Tuesday afternoon, returning officers had started announcing parliamentary and governor results. Though Hassan denied the electronic system had crashed, Bett confirmed that the system had indeed failed.

"We have just consulted the IEBC leadership and the reasons advanced by the chair to go manual are not legally binding. The national tallying of presidential results shows signs of tiredness. The IEBC must resolve this hitch so that the delayed process is not seen as creating anxiety in the country," said Bett.

Bett was with James Orengo, Anyang' Nyong'o, Gideon Ndambuki and Johnston Muthama. Orengo warned that the route taken by the electoral commission can be challenged in court.

"Forms 34 and 35 cannot be taken to mean the actual figure because they have to be confirmed by the electronic results," said Orengo.

Cord also supported IEBC's move to include the rejected votes as part of the percentage of the total votes cast to determine the winner. Jubilee Alliance running mate William Ruto dismissed the move saying it is a plot to deny them first round victory.

This followed an announcement by Hassan that the rejected votes, alongside presidential votes, will be include among the total votes cast as provided for in the law.

Article 138 (4) of the constitution says that a candidate shall be declared elected as President if the candidate receives more than half of all the votes cast in the election and at least 25 per cent of the votes cast in each of more than half of the counties.

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