IEBC ‘sticking’ to court order on verification

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has painstaking been manually verifying each Forms 34A and 34B in observance of the Supreme Court directive. IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati explained yesterday that the final result will only be declared after all the result forms have been verified.

The Supreme Court, in its ruling on September 1 that nullified the presidential election, castigated IEBC for not verifying the forms manually. It is understood Chebukati this time round told returning officers to deliver the forms physically, unlike the annulled August 8 poll where the forms were sent to Bomas electronically, downloaded and verified by the commission without reading each constituency result one by one as has been happening this time.

IEBC is expected to announce the final tally of the repeat presidential election today, with President Uhuru Kenyatta expected garner over 7.5 million votes.

By yesterday evening, IEBC and mainstream media tallies were indicating that Uhuru had already garnered 7.5 million votes accounting for 98 per cent of the total votes cast. The final announcement was pending final manual verification of forms 34A and 34B at the Bomas of Kenya national tallying centre.

A senior IEBC official confirmed to People Daily that the Commission had by last evening received results from 262 constituencies of the 264 where voting took place last week. Commissioners were meeting with the electoral agency’s lawyers to fine tune a number of issues as they awaited the final tally.

One of the issues at stake was the inability to conduct the election in Nasa strongholds of Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay and Migori due to violence, destruction of electoral material and threats against IEBC officials by Opposition supporters.

The issues under discussion, we learnt, included the question of whether the commission could go ahead and declare the result of election without carrying out elections in 27 constituencies. Lawyers have been arguing over the point that where electoral offences can be proved against an election contestant, the same candidate cannot turn around to claim voting did not take place in their region.

Another argument is that even if all the registered voters in the four counties were to vote, the tally would not overtake the victor or change the percentage thresholds.

Meanwhile, Chebukati last evening came out to clarify questions the number of voters who cast their ballots. He has been at pains to explain his initial position on the turnout at 48 per cent that he had announced on Thursday before revising it downwards.

He said his initial estimation that the turnout was around 6.5 million voters was based on results received and verified at that time. “By 4pm on Thursday, the Commission had received 232 physical Forms 34Bs out of which 114 had been verified and displayed at the National Tallying Centre at the Bomas of Kenya,” he said. He dismissed some of the results circulating on social media as fake.

“It has come to the attention of the Commission that there are fake and unverified results being circulated on the social media, we wish to reiterate that the official results are those verified and announced at the National Tallying Center by the Commission,” said Chebukati.

He said verification is a crucial process as it is anchored in Article 138 (3) of the Constitution, which guides the Commission in terms of process, tallying, verifying and declaring the presidential election. He said, between 4-5pm on Saturday, IEBC had transmitted 7.5 million votes out of the total registered voters through 36,882 kits.

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