There are at least 10 contested issues at the heart of the August polls that remain unresolved as key stakeholders appear to be setting the stage for a round of confrontation two weeks to the elections.
The Jubilee Party, the National Super Alliance, and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) are divided over parallel vote tallying, election backup system, and the ‘adopt-a-polling-station’ plans.
Inspection of the voter register, time within which to announce the presidential results, and lack of proper civic education add to the long list of items that need to be fixed before August 8.
Some of these contested issues are currently before various courts and are to be ruled on this week. This has put the electoral agency in suspense as it waits for the outcome.
Fears over possible election-related violence are also real, with the European Union Election Observation Mission and the African Union (AU) calling on key stakeholders to commit to credible and peaceful polls.
Sensational claims by NASA that Jubilee was plotting to use the country’s security forces to hang on to power have raised tensions.
Speaking on Facebook LiveChat yesterday morning, President Uhuru Kenyatta said he was ready to concede defeat.
He has also challenged his main rival, Raila Odinga, whose NASA coalition has repeatedly alleged vote rigging, to emphatically commit that he, too, would concede defeat if he loses.
“As I have said several times, if the will of the people is that another should be given an opportunity to continue I will do everything in my power to ensure a smooth transition,” Uhuru said.
Raila is expected to attend planned presidential debate and the question of whether he will concede defeat should he lose is likely to pop up as he tells the country what he plans for the more than 42 million Kenyans.
“Our military has been professional and has been respected worldwide. We would not want them to interfere with elections,” Raila told a rally at Muliro Gardens in Nairobi yesterday, shortly after NASA, at an earlier press conference, had alleged military involvement in the elections.
The EU chief observer, Marietje Schaake, told The Standard that both Uhuru and Raila had committed to ensure that their supporters maintain peace before, during, and after the polls.
“I am convinced that a vast majority of Kenyans want nothing less than free and fair elections. Kenya is more than just the elections. But the responsibility has different implications for everyone. The security forces are responsible for providing security but not overbearing. Candidates in the polls are also responsible for the language they use,” said Ms Schaake in an interview.
NASA is expected back in court to appeal Friday’s High Court ruling that dismissed its prayers that the polls be postponed in the event that electoral technology fails on the polling day.
The Opposition argues that allowing IEBC to use manual backup in the event of technology failure could present a venue for rigging.
The electoral commission held a plenary meeting at Bomas of Kenya last evening to come up with regulations and guidelines that will be applied if the complimentary system were to be applied.
“By Tuesday the commission shall provide to the public regulations on the procedures of the complementary system to be used on polling day,” IEBC Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba said.
The commission says that the requirement for the results to be transmitted electronically necessitates the push to put in place a tight system that is tamper proof.
In Kisumu, Justice David Majanja will deliver a ruling in a case in which the electoral body has asked the High Court to dismiss a petition compelling it to declare the presidential results within seven hours after the close of voting.
Three voters want the court to issue orders forcing the electoral body to announce the presidential results by 1am on August 9.
IEBC told the court last week that it did not have the mandate to handle the case, adding that the case did not meet the threshold of a constitutional petition.
A fresh row is brewing between NASA and the State after Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said security forces would not allow any unauthorised persons to hang around polling stations after casting their ballots.
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