Probe could settle case but...
It is great that the police have launched investigations into the data publicised by the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party which purports to show that Raila Odinga was the real winner of the 2022 presidential election.
These are the investigations that can conclusively establish if the documents allegedly provided by an Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) insider are fake or genuine and, therefore, determine who between Mr Odinga and President William Ruto should have taken the oath of office.
This presumes, however, that the probe will be conducted professionally and independently, without political pressure from any quarters and with no motive towards a pre-determined outcome.
If it is found that the documents are forgeries, then Odinga and his Azimio cohorts must face the full force of the law; that is, if any specific offence can be found under the Penal Code for lying and peddling falsehoods.
But what will the police do if they establish that the documents are genuine? Will the former IEBC commissioners, led by their chairman Wafula Chebukati, also face the threat of criminal prosecution for producing doctored election results and falsely declaring that Dr Ruto won the presidential elections?
Fat chance. In any case, it appears pretty certain that, even before the conclusion of the investigations, police have already concluded that the Azimio dossier is fake and are now looking for evidence from entities an impartial probe would regard as persons of interest.
The letter seeking information from IEBC chief executive Marjan Hussein Marjan makes it all too clear that Director of Criminal Investigations Mohamed Amin is looking for someone to nail over the Azimio claims rather than trying to establish the truth over alleged election rigging.
Mr Amin claims that he is following up on various complaints following publication of contentious results, but fails to state who the complainants are. The strange thing in the investigation is that Mr Marjan, who would be a key player if the election was actually rigged, is the one being asked by the DCI to provide copies of certified election result forms to presumably compare with what Azimio is circulating.
If Azimio’s claim is that the IEBC used falsified forms to declare Dr Ruto the victor, then what Marjan will certify and present to the DCI is the same forms that were allegedly doctored.
IEBC servers be ‘opened’
If he is not trying to push the ruling Kenya Kwanza Alliance’s counter-narrative, the best thing Amin would do is demand, as Azimio is doing, that the IEBC servers be ‘opened’ so that the original result forms can be compared with the ones uploaded on the public portal, which were used to tally the votes and declare a winner.
Amin’s predecessor George Kinoti was run out of office as soon as Dr Ruto assumed the presidency—and for good reason because he had become a willing political tool in the service of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s power structure.
The Kenya Kwanza administration promised an apolitical police service that would never again be used to harass and intimidate foes but it appears that in Amin they have their own youth winger to carry out political investigations and prosecutions.
But his probe on the Azimio dossier will backfire terribly, for it will be the Ruto machinery walking headlong into a Raila trap. The Opposition chief’s claim to have won the presidential election is most likely arrant nonsense but, as long as the government reacts with brawn rather than brain, he controls the narrative.
Odinga claims that the election ‘results’ allegedly provided by an IEBC whistleblower contain the genuine numbers sent to the IEBC servers from the constituency tallying centres before doctored versions were forwarded to the National Tallying Centre, hosted at Bomas of Kenya. He has no evidence but is, in effect, putting the burden of proof on IEBC with the demand that it make public what was transmitted to the servers.
Instead, the government is turning it into a matter for criminal investigations, along with the implicit threat to arrest Odinga and others disseminating the contested documents. This approach, to a gullible public, will be an indication that the government has something to hide, is terribly scared by the new revelations and, therefore, that there might be truth to Odinga’s claims.
Amin is obviously diving head-first into an arena where he is completely out of his depth. His pursuit of political investigations reflects badly not just on himself but on the DCI and entire National Police Service, as well as on a government that will be seen to be in abuse of power.
[email protected] www.gaitho.co.ke. @MachariaGaitho