The Jubilee Party has rolled out a new strategy aimed at ensuring the electoral commission abides by the law in managing the tallying and transmission of results at the October 26 presidential elections.
The party will deploy its 138 MPs as its chief agents in their constituencies while those who contested on the party’s ticket and lost will play the same role in zones where the President’s party does not have representatives.
MPs who attended the meeting convened by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto at State House on Tuesday said they were told they would in addition to being President Kenyatta’s chief agents at the constituency have the mandate to appoint agents, coordinate them, arrange for their training and supervise their work on Election Day.
The MPs were also told that the party would have a lawyer in every constituency and an ICT-conversant person to guide them as they go about overseeing the work of the IEBC as agents and ensuring everything is done properly.
At hand to guide the MPs, some of whom described the meeting as a seminar of sorts, were Winnie Guchu and Davis Chirchir, President Kenyatta’s agents at the last elections.
“The impression we got was that the heads of the party feel the election was nullified because of sabotage and funny grounds we should ensure the IEBC follows the law and those issues do not arise,” said one of the MPs. The lawmaker asked not to be named as the meeting was not open.
As chief agents at the constituency level, the MPs’ job will be to scrutinise the Forms 34B and ensure they are properly filled.
The MPs said the plan would go in tandem with planned changes to the Elections Act they said are to align it with the decision of the Court of Appeal in the case by Maina Kiai and others before the General Election.
The plan is to make the manual process of having the Forms 34A filled at the polling station and the Forms 34B filled at the constituency the basis for announcing the results of the presidential election.
They said this would be in line with the Maina Kiai case, where the judges said that the results announced at the constituency are final, and the Supreme Court judgement that faulted the electoral commission for announcing the result of the presidential election without all the Forms 34A.
The electoral commission had said before the elections that the forms would be the basis of the results in cases where there was a conflict between what was in the electronic system and what had been written in them.
On Tuesday, National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi signalled a possible fight by the Opposition against the changes once the bill is prepared and taken to the National Assembly for approval.
“Don’t take us back to the Stone Age. We already left that stage,” he said in the afternoon.
There are also planned changes to Section 83 of the Elections Act, which says that an election should not be annulled if it appears that it was conducted in accordance with the principles in the Constitution and any law or that the failure to comply did not affect the result of the election.
There appeared to have been no clear explanation on the exact changes to this part but senior members of the party have in the past said they would want the recounting of ballots made a mandatory part of election petitions.
An official statement from State House said the meeting “discussed measures to ensure that Kenyans are not subjected to the kind of mischief that was used to nullify the August 8 election.”
“We are having a meeting with all our leaders to appraise ourselves on election management. We want to make sure the mischief and loopholes that were used in the nullification of a fairly won election do not happen again,” said Mr Ruto in the statement.
Kwale governor Salim Mvurya was reported to have been concerned about security on Election Day, while Senate Deputy Whip Irungu Kang’ata asked that Woman Reps, governors and senators have a role in the process.
State House said that the representatives and leaders elected at the county level would lead the campaigns for the President.
A suggestion by Kitutu Chache North MP Jimmy Angwenyi that the party have two agents at each station was reported to have been turned down on the basis that it would be too expensive.
Mr Chebukati said UNDP had offered to procure the ballot papers.