11 March 2013

Kenya: By Raila Going to Court, Kenya Wins

March 6, 2013: VOA Social Media reporter shares what's inside this week's STA Inbox as many respond and react to what has been going on in Kenya ... ( Resource: Social Media Played A Crucial Role in Kenya Election )


Last week I wrote about going to the polls, and urged Kenyans to realize that democracy means that more Kenyans might vote for someone else other than your preferred choice, and that this decision needed to be respected.

The results are out and Raila Odinga has gone to court to contest the presidential results. The results announced by IEBC showed Uhuru with an over 800,000-vote lead over Raila.

It also showed Uhuru with over 50% + 1 of total votes cast. 'How then can Raila claim that he did not lose?' several Kenyans asked on social media and FM stations.

If I had not been with the Prime Minister every day of the election week I would have joined with those asking these questions and saying that he is a sore loser.

However I had been with him each day through-out the election week. I had watched when right from the initial IEBC announcements of provisional electronic results there was this weird steady gap between Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga's results that on a graph showed their results flowing parallel to each other; when Uhuru's dipped, Raila's would dip; when Raila's peaked, Uhuru's would peak; all with a steady close to 600,000 vote difference.

I had watched as this trend repeated itself even when IEBC started afresh with manual results. Like many Kenyans I want the IEBC to show how this is possible in a situation where they are receiving random result numbers, in random order, from random parts across the country.

Then there was the case of the rejected vote. During the electronic process these votes shot up to over 300,000 votes before we even got to 50% of total votes cast. When IEBC changed to manual results these rejected votes came down to an eighth of what had been shown in the earlier results.

IEBC then explained that the earlier numbers had been caused by an error in the system where rejected votes were being multiplied by 8. The question I want IEBC to answer is how software developed with only 'addition' capabilities can get an error that leads to 'multiplication' capacity; why an such error would affect only rejected votes and not maybe, valid votes; and what else such error could have multiplied.

I also watched keenly the relationship between the results IEBC officials would announce from the podium, and what was posted on the IEBC board.

On more than one occasion Uhuru Kenyatta's results were immediately added onto the board after the announcement, while those of Raila were not.

I started thinking that someone wanted to create the psychological perception in the minds of everyone watching the board, that Uhuru was winning.

When CORD complained about these omissions (an issue that even the IEBC CEO admitted publicly), it would be amended. However sometimes what was added would not even be all what was announced for him. By the end of the process CORD found it had 'lost' close to 286,000 votes.

Then there was the tallying of manual results. The way the Election Act is structured electronic results are meant to be transmitted to the tallying centre from the polling station immediately tallying is done at the polling station, in the presence of all agents.

These results are then received by IEBC headquarters as provisional results until the presiding officers get there with the manual documents, where the later is used to confirm the former to enable IEBC issue finals results.

The electronic and manual results are therefore two independent steps of the tallying system meant to check, control and/or balance each other. One cannot replace the other.

IEBC however admitted they relied only on the manual set of results to declare finals results thereby evading the 'cure' developed after the 2007 elections where manual results were allegedly 'doctored' in transit.

IEBC then went a step further and ejected presidential agents from where they were tallying the manual results. This creates the space for CORD's claims that in just over 20 constituencies audited over 130,000 votes were added to their chief competitor that cannot be traced.

As I watched the Chairman of the IEBC announce that Uhuru Kenyatta had won the elections I felt a deep sense of loss and betrayal. After what I had witnessed I also felt a deep anger and quietly wondered what would have happened if we did not have a judiciary that Kenyans have come to trust. I also admired Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka's strength as they watched the events unfolding.

I applaud CORD for taking the longer option to contest these results in court where they can ask IEBC these and many other questions. Kenya is better off that this option is viable.

Unlike in 2007 Kenyans will also now know what happened during the tallying of the 2013 presidential elections and whatever the outcome, the integrity of the electoral process will be enhanced. Kenya will win.

The writer is the director of political affairs at the Raila Odinga presidential campaign secretariat.

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