Kenya’s Electoral Commission increased its involvement in the presidential campaigns in the August 9 elections, hoping to inspire confidence in its ability to conduct fair and credible election polls and avoid a repeat of previous costly disputes.
< p >The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), which has a tarnished image of three consecutive disputed presidential election results, organized a forum for presidential candidates on June 29 to address concerns about the integrity of the electoral roll, among other things.
Next week’s forum comes days after the IEBC invited representatives of the candidates to witness a simulation of their results reporting system.
Read:ICG: Kenya’s August 9 elections could be contested
An independent examination of the voter list by K PMG, whose results were released last week, uncovered a number of anomalies, including suspicious double registrations of voter sfers in 10 boroughs and names of dead voters.
Vice President William Ruto, one of the two frontrunners in the race to succeed President Kenyatta had claimed in advance of the KPMG audit Up to a million voters were displaced from the polling stations of their choice, particularly in his perceived political strongholds in the Rift Valley and Mt. Kenya.
The KPMG audit revealed, however, that irregular voter movements had also occurred in counties outside the two regions.
IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati said three Electoral Commission officials could be prosecuted over the transfers.
Suspects about the integrity of voter rolls, voter identification kits, procurement of election materials and transmission of results have led to allegations /p>
Flaws in biometric kits
Civil society groups this week sued the IEBC over its decision to use the manual register to stop voting for voter identification in the next elections, arguing that it could disenfranchise some voters if biometric kits failed.
The results of two of Kenya’s last three presidential elections have been challenged in the Supreme Court.
Supreme Court justices, in a landmark ruling, overturned the results of the 2017 presidential election over irregular counting and reporting of results and overturned President Kenyatta’s original complaint -election victory.
President Kenyatta won the repeat election, which was boycotted by opposition leader Raila Odinga.
The repeat left the Government spending for this year’s election rises to Ksh 54.1 billion ($460 million) after the Treasury adjusted the budget by an additional Ksh 15 billion ($127.5 million). However, the economic cost to the country of business disruption linked to disputed elections is much higher.
In 2007 and 2008, Kenya experienced its worst election-related violence after Mr Odinga refused to concede defeat and alleged vote rigging in favor of then-President Mwai Kibaki.
The impact of post-election violence was felt elsewhere in the region, after protesters blocked roads and destroyed sections of the railway, disrupting cargo shipments to Uganda and Rwanda was interrupted from the port of Mombasa.
Kenya has enjoyed political stability since then, with subsequent presidential election grievances settled by the Supreme Court.
But a dispute between President Kenyatta and The Deputy President Ruto and the toxic rhetoric surrounding the President’s “handshake” cooperation with Mr. O dinga have raised political temperatures in parts of the country, prompting the country’s hate speech watchdogs to label them violent hotspots.
However, with the veteran opposition leader running as an establishment candidate in this year’s election goes, seems Dr. Ruto primarily being the victim.
In addition to questioning the integrity of the electoral roll, he has taken on the problem of cabinet ministers’ involvement in the Odinga campaign.