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Don’t announce poll results before IEBC, Wangusi warns leaders and media

CA boss Francis Wangusi has warned leaders against announcing election results alongside the IEBC saying this is likely to trigger chaos.

The Opposition’s NASA coalition will have a parallel tallying system and will announce presidential results eight hours after polling stations close at 6pm.

The electoral agency has seven days to announce the winner and NASA could leave it in the dust on August 8.

More on this: Raila tallying centre to get results 8 hrs after voting

Wangusi told the media on Monday: “Only IEBC is allowed by law to announce election results. The rest can only do so after IEBC.”

The Communications Authority director general further said they are aware some media houses are planning to release results before the commission.

“We are reminding media houses toying with the idea of releasing results ahead of IEBC to stop. The IEBC is the official body charged with releasing the official results.”

Wangusi noted the authority has taken every possible measure to ensure social media is not misused during the election period

“All platforms are under watch; telecommunications, social media and other media. We will come for you wherever you are,” he said, hours after the NCIC issued a similar warning.

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Cases of hate speech and incitement are on the rise and EU observers warned Kenya could fall into post-election violence.

Officials frequently warn against rising temperatures, fear mongering and stirring ethnic contempt in the run-up to the polls.

The August 8 election is key for NASA’s Raila Odinga who has run for the top seat ad lost three times before.

Raila and Kalonzo Musyoka will take on President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto who want a second and final five-year term.

More on this: Kenya could be hit by post-election violence, EU warns

Wangusi said they are engaging social media websites to ensure offensive utterances are brought down.

“We are scavenging words likely to lead to violence and we are pulling offensive websites down,” he said.

NO INTERNET SHUTDOWN

Wangusi maintained they are unlikely to shut down the internet as Kenyans must be allowed to express their opinions.

He said they have taken all measures possible to prevent tension that would force drastic steps.

Kenya had an estimated 37.7 million internet users in June 2016, 85.3 per cent of the population, according to the CA’s latest statistics.

Growth is largely driven by increased penetration of smartphones.

BY shutting the internet, Kenya would be following in the footsteps of African governments which have in the past two years blocked electronic communications for political reasons during elections.

Gambia, Ghana, Gabon and Uganda are the most recent and linked to elections. Other nations that have taken the move are the Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Morocco, Algeria, Burundi, Libya, Egypt, the Central African Republic, Sudan and Niger.

In Kenya, social media has been used to spread hate speech and fake news. It has allowed many politicians and their supporters to engage in character assassination, ethnic contempt and threats to ethnic groups.

Fake accounts have also been created to malign and threaten rivals and perceived enemies.

Social media is fast-becoming a prominent part of everyone’s life especially that of young adults. Many of them spend large amounts of time on various platforms that exposes them to disturbing content.

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