Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Friday, 06 Jan 2017 16:16 EAT
Only a transparent, credible, free and fair election on August 8 will guarantee political stability in Kenya this year. The International Center for Policy and Conflict therefore urges the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to deliver a clean election in order to promote public trust in democracy, as the absence of that would push the people towards undemocratic and radical alternatives to effect change.
Though Kenya has had many difficulties and uncertainties in its governance system, it has come a long way from the dark days of dictatorship to an era of building a system of constitutional governance in which people elected or appointed to public positions are held accountable. Inclusiveness is one of the ingredients of free, fair and credible polls. The negotiated electoral laws offered an all-inclusive consensus process towards realizing a credible electoral process.
It is thus an act of bad faith for one of the parties to rip open a bi-partisan electoral legal framework, and this creates a toxic environment for conducting peaceful elections. IEBC has to give equal opportunities to all political parties to partake in the decisions and processes involved in the conduct of elections. Civil society on the other hand must hold politicians and IEBC to a higher level of scrutiny during elections to enforce free, fair and transparent elections in the country.
In the 2013 general elections, the register of voters was so seriously flawed as to undermine the credibility of the entire election. Because of this flawed register, IEBC has been unable to formally publish the final results of the 2013 elections. The registration of voters and the transparency of the register are once more the subject of controversy and the independence of IEBC is again in question in the run up to the August elections.
In order to ensure the 2017 General elections are transparent, credible, free and fair, the following must be upheld:
• The voters’ register must be fully biometric,
• The printing of ballot papers must be monitored and supervised by all political parties,
• The movement of electoral materials must be monitored by all political parties,
• On the day of elections, the ballot box must be fully transparent,
• A voter who arrives at the polling station must has to be taken through the following process:
a) Have his or her identity confirmed on the register,
b) Get verified by the biometric verification device,
c) Be given a ballot paper validated by a stamp,
d), Get his or her fingers marked by an indelible ink, and his or her biometric barcode immediately deactivated, making it impossible for him or her to vote more than once.
Ballot papers acquisition process should be closely observed by political party agents, candidate’s agents, observers, journalists and members of the public. Ballot papers must be serialized so they can be reconciled with the EVID immediately after voting and before vote counting can start. At the end of the polls, the sorting of the ballot should be done in the full glare of the public as well as the counting, the declaration, the recording of the results declared, and transporting the declared polling station results and ballot papers to the constituency collation centre.
This should also be monitored by the representatives of the political parties and security personnel. At the Constituency Collation Centre, before the collation begins, the agents of the various parties from the polling stations must first confirm that the results being collated are exactly the same results declared at the polling station. The collation must be done in front of candidates, their agents, journalists, observers, and members of the public.
At the end of the collation, the constituency results must be declared in the presence of all. At the National Results Collation Centre, the representatives of the parties must first confirm the figures with their agents at the constituency before the Commission proceeds to put the figures together. After the collation, the party representatives must again confirm that the figures are accurate for all the 290 constituencies before the final declaration is made.
Presidential results at the polling station and constituency level must be published and publicized, while using technology to electronically transmit the results to the national headquarters. Kenyans are demanding for verifiable, accurate and transparent voters’ registers with ONLY REAL voters registered through Biometric Voter registration (BVR) process and identified by Electronic Voters’ Identification device (EVID).
Only EVID recognized voters, after scrutiny, will vote in each polling station. Back up must also be electronic and not manual. Anything manual must reflect or be a product of an electronic process/exercise. The BVR devices must be stand alone and not connected to any other electronic device on a grid/platform that can be hacked into.
Counting, collation and announcement of results must end at the constituency level as required by the constitution. There must also exist duplicates of all the votes cast and made available to the public without conditions. There will be no vote counting before a full reconciliation of ballot papers used, duplicates and EVID voters’ confirmation of the number of voters who voted.
A real time results in each polling station must be made public upon being certified and declared. All results that have been verified, accurately recorded/signed by all party/candidates and independent observers and publicly declared at the polling station will be sent to constituency collation centre and final verified and counter checked results with polling station announced.
The results announced at the Constituency by the returning officer in accordance with Article 86 of the Constitution for all candidates are final. Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology must be employed by independent bodies and observers to provide the timeliest and accurate information on the conduct of voting and counting as the only observation methodology that independently verify the accuracy of official IEBC election results.
The writer is the Executive Director of the International Center for Policy and Conflict (ICPC).