22 March 2013

Kenya: IEBC Wants Raila's Petition Dismissed

Nairobi — The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) wants the Supreme Court to throw out the petition filed by Prime Minister Raila Odinga challenging the election of Uhuru Kenyatta as president.

In its response to the petition by Odinga, IEBC argued there is no legal foundation that would warrant invalidation of the results of the March 4 election.

The response filed by Mohammed Muigai Advocates who are holding legal brief for the electoral body insists that the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction to set aside the whole process.

"There is no lawful basis whatsoever advanced by the Petitioner that would warrant either the setting aside of the results announced or the electoral process as a whole. The orders sought constitute a subversion of constitutional order," the response states.

IEBC is categorical that use of technology was complimentary to the election process and was meant to improve efficiency in a process that is by law expected to be manual.

"Presiding Officers experienced challenges in the use of Electronic Voter Identification Devices (EVID) in some polling stations, which subsequently continued to do with the use of manual registers which themselves contain biometric details of voters. The integrity of the process was neither violated, vitiated breached, compromised or rendered ineffective."

"Presiding officers did not breach Regulation 82 of the General Election as alleged by the petitioner since they indeed tried to transmit the said provisional results, but due to technological challenges did not succeed," further read the response.

IEBC has vehemently denied that it abandoned the process of electronic voter identification and its Results Transmission System (RTS).

The rejoinder also denies Odinga's allegation in his petition that the technology chosen for the March 4 exercise was 'poorly selected, designed, implemented and designed to fail'.

IEBC maintains that communication on the failure of the systems was made to the public including to agents of political parties.

"That after the RTS experienced operational challenges, the Commission at the National Tallying Centre (at Bomas of Kenya) held a consultative meeting with chief political party agents and an agreement was reached on the mode of verification of presidential election results brought in by Returning Officers," the commission avers.

On the differing numbers of registered voters after close of registration, IEBC says that it certified 14,352,455 voters as at February 18 2013. The Commission says that the tally included 12 voters from Soi constituency who had been registered using the training code in the BVR kits.

IEBC says that it additionally allowed 31, 318 voters whose biometric information was not captured during registration to vote and that there was no artificial inflation of the total number of registered voters.

The IEBC response says that the 14,337,399 registered voters used by CORD in its petition was provisional and that the same had been supplied to parties by the Registrar of Political Parties for purposes of party nominations.

The Commission has stood by its results declaring Kenyatta as the winner of the election and insisted that the accuracy of the result was beyond reproach as all processes were carried out within the ambit of the Constitution.

The Commission outlined thorough verification processes that the results brought in physically by returning officers went through before and after the results were announced.

The eight step process, according to IEBC, gave ample time to parties through their chief agents to verify the results.

"The electoral process was valid and a valid declaration of the outcome of the presidential election made; and that by no stretch of imagination was the process fundamentally and irreparably flawed unconstitutional and unlawful," IEBC said.

"There are no constitutional or statutory violations or wide irregularities that occurred or indeed that votes were wrongfully credited to the Third Respondent (Kenyatta). The sovereign will of the people of Kenya was respected and upheld in accordance with the Constitution," the 54-point response reads in conclusion.

Lordrick is a graduate of the University of Nairobi with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism. He is passionate about political and governance issues. He also takes keen interest in human rights matters, justice and is fond of sports.

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