IEBC faced with tough queries on presidential vote tallying

The electoral commission was on Saturday faced with hard questions on the tallying of presidential vote numbers even as it raced against time to complete verifying details from polling stations and constituencies across the country.

Confusion on the number of votes received by Jubilee Party presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta and the voter turnout marked the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) briefing.

In his final briefing of the day on Thursday night, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said the turnout was 48 per cent as at the time the polling closed.

This translated to some 9.4 million of the 19.6 million registered voters. But hours later, Mr Chebukati revised the figure to about 34 per cent.

PERFORMED DISMALLY

“The 48 per cent was a best estimate turnout from the team. Latest actual figures from 267 constituencies show 6,553,858 Kenyans turned out to vote,” he tweeted at 11 pm, about six hours after polling had closed.

However, as results continue to be tabulated, the figures for Mr Kenyatta derived from forms uploaded on the IEBC website indicated a total of at least 7 million votes — and counting.

The Jubilee candidate’s main challenger, Mr Raila Odinga of Nasa, announced he had withdrawn from the race even though his name remained on the ballot.

The six other candidates have performed dismally so far, receiving less than 100,000 votes in total. And in an official statement yesterday, IEBC said it had received 232 physical forms 34Bs (from the constituencies).

On Saturday, when asked about the inconsistency in the figures, Mr Chebukati said that the figure of 6.6 million he had given was based on the results that had come in.

TURNOUT

“We have a team working on the comprehensive turnout. We will give you the exact figure in the course of these proceedings,” said Mr Chebukati at the Bomas of Kenya.

As IEBC was working on the turnout, Deputy President William Ruto, in an interview with CNN, said some 7.5 million people voted on October 26.

 That would translate to 38.46 per cent of the registered voters. Mr Ruto was reacting to an interview Nasa leader Raila Odinga gave the American network earlier in the week in which he put the turnout at 3.5 million.

“On matters to do with turnout, it is incorrect for Mr Odinga to say 3.5 million voters turned out. In fact, 7.5 million voters turned out. This information is available to the general public,” said Mr Ruto, without explaining the source of his figures.

OBSERVERS

Critics like Siaya Senator James Orengo, who is also a Nasa strategist, said IEBC has been exposed and, in trying to save face, is making their situation worse. 

“If the August 8 election was tragic, this one is farcical. Even international observers are hesitant to make their views known,” said Mr Orengo.

Kura Yangu Sauti Yangu lobby which deployed some 2,000 observers in 44 of the 47 counties around the country to observe the election in their preliminary report points to a commission with no “clear idea of what data is in its possession at any time.”

Mr Orengo said the inconsistencies noted were expected especially since IEBC is trying to defend the indefensible.

Meanwhile, IEBC has turned to tabulated figures from the constituencies to announce results.

VOTES GARNERED

With 76 of the 291 constituencies reporting, Mr Kenyatta had 2.5 million, Nasa’s Raila Odinga had 20,336, Thirdway Alliance’s Dr Ekuru Aukot had 6,763, Abduba Dida had 4,411, Kavinga Kaluyu had 3,098, Michael Wainaina had 1,864, Joseph Nyagah had 1,704 while Cyrus Jirongo had 1,267.

At the same time, according to IEBC, the turnout with 76 constituencies reporting was 45.17 per cent.

Commissioner Abdi Guliye explained the change as being a result of inaccuracies in the electronic transmission of results.

“The transmissions from the polling stations are not accurate because the Kiems kit only capture those identified biometrically and not those who may have been identified alpha-numerically,” he said.

However, according to the IEBC’s own explanation ahead of the poll, the Forms 34A that are transmitted through Kiems kit  do not segregate the mode by which voters were identified.

RESULTS INCONSISTENCIES

Prof Guliye also added that the conflicts that have arisen on the figure of the turnout was because people were computing based on the total registered voters instead of basing it on voter figures of areas where voting took place.

According to Prof Guliye, the interim turnout figure given on Thursday was based on transmissions from some 17,000 stations.

IEBC had previously stated that the Kiems kits which are used among others to identify and electronically transmit results are capable to update on the turnout periodically during the voting.

However, much like the turnout, IEBC is yet to clear the air on the exact number of polling stations that opened.

During Mr Chebukati’s 9pm briefing on October 26, he had said that voting had taken place in 35,564 polling stations representing about 87 per cent of the designated voting areas in the country.

VOTING

At the time, according to the chairman, who is also the national returning officer for presidential elections, “A total of 5,319 did not send opening messages, meaning no voting took place.”

However, as at 4 pm Saturday, the IEBC portal showed that results have been received from 37,166 stations.

Kura Yangu Sauti Yangu also claimed to have picked out inconsistencies in the Forms 34A that IEBC said it had received and what was on the commission’s portal.

“On the evening of October 26, IEBC chair Chebukati announced that the commission had 27,134 Forms 34A. At that time, the portal showed that the commission only had 18,090 forms. Today (October 27), Chebukati announced that the commission had results from 15 constituencies. The portal showed, however, that the IEBC had posted over 100 Forms 34B at that time,” the lobby said.

POLLING STATIONS

Inconsistencies have also been noticed in the results announced at some polling stations and what was declared at the national tallying centre in Nairobi.

For instance, in the entire Vihiga County with four constituencies, President Kenyatta was declared to have obtained 9,847 votes.

However, the results announced at the national tallying centre showed 18,000 for the Jubilee candidate.

But Mr Chebukati dismissed the suggestions.

“It has come to the attention of the commission that there are fake and unverified results being circulated on social media. We wish to reiterate that the official results are those verified and announced at the national tallying centre by the commission,” he said.

IEBC PORTAL

And even though IEBC had postponed elections in the four counties of Migori, Kisumu, Homabay and Siaya, the commission’s portal has returns from two constituencies of Kisumu West and Muhoroni.

Similarly, there are returns from Kuria East and West.

According to Prof Guliye, voting actually took place in some areas of Migori and Kisumu. “As such in those areas there will be valid transmission,” he said.

As well as the above inconsistencies, there is also the question of the number of registered voters.

During the August 8 elections, the register that IEBC published had 19,611,423 voters. However, the register published days to the fresh election had some 91,000 additional voters.

At the time of going to press, the statistics of voters on IEBC website were down.

Former and current leaders had promised to ensure a sweeping victory in Ukambani, Western and Coast.

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