Only vote recount will end case

Vote counting

 Presidential ballot forms are verified and counted by Supreme Court officials in the presence of legal officers and party agents after they were delivered by officials from the IEBC to the Supreme Court of Kenya  on August 31, 2022.

Photo credit: Tony Karumba | AFP

If Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party leader Raila Odinga can present convincing evidence before the ‘people’s court’ that he was, indeed, cheated of victory in the 2022 presidential elections, I would be the first to demand that President William Ruto, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang'ula, and anybody else in the line of succession immediately resign and steal off in shame.

Closely trailed by Chief Justice Martha Koome and her six Supreme Court accomplices.

Before floating fresh allegations, however, Mr Odinga should summon all those in his election campaign team who were supposed to ‘guard’ the vote and give them a thorough whipping.

Claims that a whistleblower has provided evidence of how the election was stolen in favour of President Ruto can only elicit a universal yawn except amongst the most brain-dead of sycophants. The new claims are just as preposterous as the irresponsible nonsense coming out of the mouths of President Ruto and his own band of brainless sycophants about murder plots by the government of his predecessor, President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The Azimio claims, supposedly to be amplified in coming days, were in response to allegations of a plot to abduct and kill the elections agency boss, Wafula Chebukati, to prevent him from declaring Dr Ruto as the winner of the presidential election.

Fresh idiocy

The more such puerile nonsense is repeated without the slightest evidence from President Ruto and Mr Chebukati, they more it appears that the two were working as a team during the elections.

The Ruto camp actually seems to be adding fuel to the narrative that it had ‘captured’ the IEBC and was the one providing security for Chebukati and giving direction on activities at the Bomas of Kenya-based National Tallying Centre.

That still does not provide justification for fresh idiocy out of the Odinga camp. Mr Odinga had a golden opportunity to make his case at the Supreme Court, and fluffed it. We can be charitable and agree that the election petition timetable provided very little room to gather and present the watertight evidence needed to overturn a presidential election outcome.

It could even be worth taking judicial notice that the petition bench displayed open bias with the uncivil, intemperate and injudicious language employed against his case. However, that case was never going to go anywhere in the absence of clear evidence of ballot stuffing and other iniquities.

Mr Odinga, before the Supreme Court, had a very simple task. It should not have been about algorithms, servers or mystery Venezuelans but what his election agents could present as evidence of the actual vote count recorded at each and every polling station.

Election agents

The requirement that the ballots be counted openly in front of election agents, observers and the media and the results announced and pinned up for display at every counting station should make for a foolproof election. The very analog and manual voting and counting process should make for the most transparent of elections that cannot be subverted by the electronic transmission and tallying systems.

The 2022 elections provided yet another instance—for the fourth time in succession—that Mr Odinga’s campaign machinery failed him on the most basic of tasks. If he had tabled the signed result forms gathered by his agents from all the 40,000-plus polling stations, it would have been an open and shut case had they shown major discrepancies from what was presented by the IEBC.

That he did not is telling. It means that his agents either did not collect the results or that what they had showed no significant variation from what was uploaded on the IEBC portal.

Now Mr Odinga’s team claims it has unearthed fresh evidence of electoral malpractice. But it is, obviously, jumping the gun because it actually has no evidence to table but only untested information from an anonymous whistleblower.

In the absence of any evidence of actual numbers and how they were arrived at, the claims that Mr Odinga actually won with a handsome majority of 57 per cent of the vote could as well be phantom numbers plucked out of thin air. To get the actual evidence, the Odinga team is demanding that the IEBC elections database be opened for audit.

That sounds like the same tired old ‘open the servers’ mantra. A more reasonable demand might be for an audit that includes a recount of all the votes cast—presuming Mr Chebukati and his team of commissioners did not spirit them away on retirement. That is what should settle the matter once and for all, but for the fact that President Ruto will accede to such a demand.

[email protected]; @MachariaGaitho