29 March 2014

Kenya: Two Lobby Groups Fault IEBC Over 2013 Elections

TWO civil society groups have faulted the manner in which the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission conducted the March 4, 2013 general election.

The Kenya for Peace with Truth and Justice and Africa Centre for Open Governance catalogue problems that bedeviled the process and accuse IEBC staff of being incompetent.

In a report launched in Nairobi yesterday, the two groups want the IEBC to formally release the polling station results for all elective positions contested so that there is a complete public record of the polling station-level presidential results.

"There was a significant lack of transparency at every stage beginning at the polling stations. In nearly half of all the stations observed, party argents were not all given a copy of the results forms," the report says.

The report says IEBC is yet to release polling station-level results for any office to date. It says the commission has chosen only to release aggregated results for constituency and county levels, some of which are incomplete.

The report titled Election Day 2013 and its Aftermath says that within the released results, the IEBC has only shown the number of valid votes per candidate arguing that constituency-level rejected votes and votes cast have not been released.

The study says the fundamental problem with the counting and tallying process in the last election was the lack of credible and verifiable polling stations tallies as recorded in forms 34.

Form 34 is the document on which each polling station's votes for all presidential candidates are recorded.

The reports says that an analysis of the documents shows that in at least 138 polling streams, the numbers on the forms do not add up.

"For instance, valid votes plus rejected votes do not equal votes cast," the report says.

In at least 28 polling streams, the number of votes cast exceeded the number of registered voters.

In at least 127 polling streams the number of registered voters as recorded on the forms was different from the number of registered voters as published by the IEBC before the election.

The study further says that forms 34 were missing in at least 80 polling streams, while in at least 64 polling stations, numbers of the forms had been changed without an authorising signature.

Seventy one polling streams had illegible numbers while 37 polling streams were irregular as they did not match the formatting of the other forms and "one was simply handwritten on a piece of paper".

The report says IEBC staff were not only incompetent but were also involved in voter bribery.

"Clerks had to be reminded of what to do. Unprofessionalism was the order of the day at the polling stations. There were eight cases of voter bribery at six of the observed polling stations," the report says.

Africog executive director Gladwell Otieno and county director, Electoral Institute for the Sustainability of Democracy in Africa Felix Owuor concurred in calling for IEBC to be disbanded before the 2017 elections.

"I know the law sets certain standards on how the commissioners should be removed from office but IEBC must be reformed before the next elections," Owuor said.

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