IEBC To Announce President Within Hours After Polls Close
In 2013, Uhuru Kenyatta was declared Kenya's President five days after polls closed at 5pm on March 4. In 2007, it took four days to declare Mwai Kibaki President on December 30.
In the August 8 General Election, however, Kenya's fifth President is likely to be known within hours — as early as 4.30pm the next day — minimising tension, accusations of rigging and conflict.
This is due to court rulings on vote tallying and declaration of results at the constituency level as final.
IEBC ChairmanWafulaChebukati withcommissionerRoselyn Akombeand CEOEzra Chilobaafter meetingpresidentialcandidates onJune 15/ MONICAH MWANGI
Speed is also due to IEBC technology and systems, which Kenyans are told will not collapse as they did in 2013.
Presidential results will be counted first and announced first.
Previously those results were delayed for days by technology failures and disorganisation, stoking anxiety and suspicion.
Yesterday IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati outlined the to expedite announcement of results and ensure there's no rigging.
Kenya has 19.6 million registered voters.
Votes cast at each of 41,000 polling centres will be counted and tabulated there. The outcome will be also be announced there without delay by the presiding officer.
These results are final cannot be altered by the IEBC in Nairobi.
"That electronic transmission of election results in a prescribed form is a critical way of safeguarding accuracy of the outcome. The role of the National Tallying Centre is to verify the winning candidate has obtained 50 per cent +1 votes and the candidate has obtained at least 25 per cent of votes in at least 24 counties," Chebukati told a press conference yesterday.
The IEBC boss said results received from returning officers cannot be changed at the National Tallying Centre.
This decision is a major victory for the opposition, which said the last election was stolen through manipulation of results at the main centre. Jubilee wanted the national centre to play the major role.
"The same principle applies, the Returning Officer cannot change the results as received from the polling station," Chebukati said.
In the new arrangement, returning officers will not have to travel to the national tallying center to physically submit results declaration forms. They will be sent as scanned documents.
Presiding officers must electronically transmit results to constituency tallying officers who will relay them unchanged to the National Tallying Centre.
The usual regular — and suspenseful — televised updates of provisional results will not be allowed.
Only the electoral agency's chief returning officer, IEBC chairman Chebukati, will declare the final presidential results at the Bomas of Kenya.
Polls open at 6am. The IEBC will monitor voter turnout trends in all 40,882 gazetted polling stations with a maximum 700 voters each. This information will be relayed on the IEBC's web portal.
Polls close at 5pm, but anyone still waiting will not be turned away. It's possible voting could begin late in some stations and balloting extended.
With maximum 700 voters per station, an average of two hours should be sufficient to count and tabulate results,
By the morning of August 9, results from the 290 constituencies is expected to start trickling into the Bomas of Kenya. That process should end by noon, if all systems operate as planned.
As for the IEBC, the commission will need about three hours to collate results and cross-check to confirm if the threshold is met for being declared President. After this, Chebukati could declare the winner by 4.30pm on August 9.
However, the law allows seven days for declaration of presidential results.
Yesterday, Chebukati assured the votes cast at each polling center will be counted, tabulated and the outcome announced without delay by the presiding officer.
Poll agency CEO Ezra Chiloba says they will collate and announce the winner after receiving copies of scanned forms from all constituency tallying centers.
On Tuesday, Chiloba said digitization will facilitate speedy declaration of presidential results and seal all rigging loopholes.
“We don't know how long it will take before final results are known but since returning officers don't have to travel to Nairobi as before, we expect the process to be fast,” Chiloba said.
He added, “We are interested in the final results. If you read the Court of Appeal decision, the understanding is that we don't have to spend a lot of time doing the announcement but to collect all the results as presented to us by returning officers.”
The Court of Appeal ruled the IEBC's returning officers posted to constituencies must electronically transmit presidential results to the National Tallying Centre.
The five-judge bench warned the commission against altering results, saying, “The IEBC chairman has no power to unilaterally tally, verify, confirm and declare presidential results or arbitrarily overturn the decision by voters.”
NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga said the decision would prevent rigging.
The commission says it has adequately trained its officers who will scrutinise scanned forms to ensure they are consistent with the typed figures sent and avert erroneous tabulation.
“We don't expect returning officers to come to Nairobi. They will come but to declare results. The hard copies will only be for record keeping,” Chiloba said.
Presiding officers will only shift from polling stations to constituency tallying centers in case of poor network coverage.
The CEO said, “Other than increasing network coverage countrywide, we have come up with alternatives to have presiding officers move with other key stakeholders to constituency tallying centers where they will access the network to submit their results.”
EU Election Observation Mission chief Marietje Schaake affirmed meeting the IEBC to gauge preparedness. She says they discussed the entire process, including registration, organisation, equipment testing, distribution and verification of electoral materials.
"The IEBC has said they are ready. Those are their own words, but we are more interested in details of the process,” Schaake said.
The EU has deployed 30 observers to assess the electoral process — including campaigns — in 13 locations.
The 2013 General Election was the first since promulgation of the 2010 Constitution. It was marred by overcrowded polling stations and massive technology failure that led to delays in voting and tallying.
Observers said the manual voter register was unreliable since it led to long queues and did not prevent duplicate voting.
Now the Elections Law Act limits voters to 700 per polling station.
This time, the IEBC is adamant the Kenya Integrated Election Management System will be rigging-proof to ensure transparent, free and fair polls.
“Given the kit design, it will be very difficult to stuff ballots. We have built in a system for ballot reconciliation,” Chiloba said.
Outcomes for governor, senator and woman representative will be announced at county headquarters. Results for MPs and MCAs will be announced in constituencies.
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