2 November 2017

Kenya: Elog Notes Improvement in Handling of Oct 26 Poll Statutory Forms

Photo: Jeff Angote/The Nation
Supreme Court Justices (file photo).

Nairobi — According to the Election Observation Group (ELOG) there was a significant improvement in the manner the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) managed election results in last week's presidential contest compared to the August poll.

An election assessment report published by ELOG on Wednesday indicates that Returning Officers in 99.5 per cent of constituency tallying centers stamped statutory results declaration forms with the transmission of the same to the National Tallying Center recording a 95.7 per cent success rate.

According to ELOG Chairperson Regina Opondo, this was a major departure from the August poll during which only about 70 per cent of primary results declaration forms (Form 34As) were transmitted within 24 hours of closure of polling centers.

"We seem to be doing quite well in some areas with regards to compliance with the law. This time we could see serial numbers on results forms and the complementary mechanism of identifying voters was clear," Opondo explained.

The data released by ELOG indicates that in 98.6 per cent of constituency tallying centers, Forms 34A from polling stations were tabulated and collated before the respective Returning Officers and party agents.

Some 2,196 observers reported witnessing the scanning and transmission of Forms 34A by Presiding Officers in at least 94.5 per cent of polling stations sampled, according to ELOG.

At least in 96.9 per cent of constituencies, presidential agents witnessed the summing of Forms 34A into Form 34B, the form containing presidential election results at the constituency level.

ELOG, however, noted cases of variation of figures in results forms, a variance which the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) had pegged at 0.9 and 1.8 per cent in terms of mathematical errors and alteration respectively, in a statement it released on October 31.

"There are still instances of forms being tampered with and that would constitute illegalities the Supreme Court appears to have alluded to in nullifying the August presidential election," said Opondo.

In its statement, EU EOM highlighted similar inconsistencies in some results forms even as it acknowledged improvements.

"Of the sampled 34A forms examined (500) only one form was not signed by a presiding officer, 2.6 per cent were not stamped, and 1.1 per cent had some data missing (usually concerning the number of registered voters and/or rejected or disputed ballots). This is an improvement from the August election," the observer mission stated in its October 31 report.

"There was a significant improvement in the electronic transmission and online publication of results forms since August through better use of mobile network providers and modified software," the report added.

Both ELOG and EU EOM reports raised concerns with the nonparticipation of 25 constituencies in Nyanza in the October 26 presidential poll.

The voter turnout was also a major issue of concern, having declined from 78 per cent recorded in August to 42.36 per cent in the 266 constituencies where voting took place, which translated to 38.84 per cent compared to the number of registered voters in the country.

President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared validly elected by IEBC on Monday after getting 7,483,895 votes, 98.27 per cent of valid votes cast.

Main opposition candidate Raila Odinga who rallied his supporters to boycott the election, a call which was almost fully complied with in Nyanza, got 73,228.

While President Kenyatta's critics have cast aspersions on his legitimacy in light of the low voter turnout recorded, the Head of State has maintained that his was a legitimate victory having fulfilled the constitutional threshold of winning an election and maintaining his vote basket despite a decline from the 8.2 million votes he secured in August to 7.4 in the October poll.

"On August 8, 15 million Kenyans came out to vote. Of these 8.4 million Kenyans voted for me. On October 26, 90 per cent of the same voters came out to support my bid," the President said in his acceptance speech on Monday after IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati declared him the poll winner.

"This was a Re-Validation of their General Will. A statement of their national intent in support of Jubilee as their government of choice," he added.

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