Seth Onyango and Noah Cheploen @Peopledailyke
The electoral agency has issued a stern warning that unauthorised persons will not be allowed to hang around polling stations after they cast their ballots during the General Election on August 8.
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) commissioner Paul Kurgat said this in apparent reaction to plan by Nasa to have some volunteer supporters hang around polling centres, ostensibly to protect votes from being tampered with.
Kurgat, who was addressing clergy at the All Africa Conference of Churches repeated the warning issued recently by Acting Interiors Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i that only authorised agents would access and stay inside polling centres.
But he clarified that each political party with candidates being voted for in a particular polling station is allowed to post one agent. And speaking separately, IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba said returning officers, as the final electoral officers to make a decision at their stations, had the power to eject any unauthorised persons from polling stations.
Chiloba was addressing media managers who had toured the national tallying centre at the Bomas of Kenya to familairise themselves with the results relaying system. He said despite results being relayed electronically, the final presidential results will be declared upon confirmation based on physical forms delivered by constituency returning officers.
He added that it is not expected that there will be any variance between the electronic data and the physical forms. The CEO said the commission will be receiving continuous reports on voter turnout, generated by the Kenya Integrated Electoral Management System (KIEMS), after every three hours.
Chiloba said a multi-pronged electronic backup system will be deployed to ensure the commission does not resort to manual voting. And commissioner Kurgat dispelled fears of technology failure during the exercise, asserting that the multifaceted system will be ignited to reinforce primary gadgets should they malfunction.
He assured that IEBC has put in place three backups in every county should there be technological or network glitch. It also emerged that ballot papers printed by Al Ghurair firm of Dubai have seven security features to forestall manipulation, just a feature shy of being like bank currency.
Although IEBC is cognisant of possible technological hitches, Kurgat assured that it was highly unlikely that the three backup systems can fail, as he exuded confidence the electoral agency was ready for any eventuality.
At the same time, Mating’i reiterated his warning to those hell-bent on disrupting peace that security measures have been put in place to deal with law breakers.
Matiang’i said nobody will be spared irrespective of status in the society if they try to interfere with the electoral process. Speaking after meeting Rift Valley security heads at Regional Coordinator Wanyama Musiambu’s office in Nakuru, Matiang’i fired a warning at politicians and their supporters to respect the law or face prosecution.
He said the country’s security machinery is prepared to protect Kenyans and their property and also help IEBC deliver an incident-free election.
Kurgat told the religious group the KIEMS will ensure everything runs seamlessly on the D-day. “We have back up and we do not anticipate the original (gadgets) to fail and the backup to fail…a total failure would be where there is no electricity or there are security challenges,” he said.
He spoke a day after another IEBC Commissioner Roselyn Akombe assured that the electronic system was good to go. She said the gadgets have recorded 98 per cent accuracy, noting that only less than two per cent of voters may not be identified through the electronic system, but there were mechanisms in place to ensure they vote.
Kurgat said 700 voters which is the maximum number at any given polling station will not stretch the electronic gadgets to the limit. He said ballot stuffing was not possible in the upcoming election as the electronic gadgets keep a tally of registered voters and match them to all those who turn up.
Meanwhile, NCCK general secretary Rev Canon Peter Karanja called on IEBC to educated Kenyans on what is expected of them on the election day.