IEBC’s audit report tells of messed-up register and corrupt officials

The damning audit report of blunders by the IEBC in the hotly contested March, 2013 elections now serves to vindicate the Opposition’s push for its disbandment. One of the key challenges Mr Ezra Chiloba faces is cleaning the image of an institution that has been rocked by corruption allegations. FILE PHOTO |

What you need to know:

  • The extent of the failures in last year’s controversial General Election has been revealed in an internal audit.
  • The Post-Election Evaluation Report on the March 4, 2013 General Election, however, effectively clears the nine commissioners of any responsibility for the failures.

The extent of the failures in last year’s controversial General Election has been revealed in an internal audit prepared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

Tedious procurement laws, political and vendor influence, legal and systemic hurdles have largely been blamed for creating the challenges faced last March, according to the comprehensive document seen by the Sunday Nation.

The Post-Election Evaluation Report on the March 4, 2013 General Election, however, effectively clears the nine commissioners of any responsibility for the failures.

But IEBC remains saddled with Sh2.7 billion in unpaid bills and faces an uphill task of regaining public confidence.

Though the commission claims to have registered 14.4 million people out of 21.8 million eligible voters for the 2013 elections, it concedes that the accuracy of the voter register was compromised.

The integrity of the principal register of voters was one of the issues in the presidential poll petition by Cord candidate Raila Odinga at the Supreme Court last March.

Mr Odinga argued that the law does not allow the commission to have multiple registers.

IEBC says in its audit that it had two registers: one for persons whose biometric data was captured, and a second one — the Green Book — for persons registered manually.

“The accuracy of the register was further affected by existence of multiple registers, and the loss of data due to staff negligence,” the report states.


But an official of the commission, who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation, told Sunday Nation the commission ended up having nearly three voter registers, which was against the law.

“If there was one single failure of IEBC, it was the sloppy voter register. During voting, some polling stations, especially in Central and Rift Valley, were authorised to use the Green Book, which is clearly illegal,” the official said.

The audit also takes note of other deficiencies in the voters lists, including missing biometric details and mismatch between biometric and other data.

The audit was completed in July this year, 18 months after the elections, at an IEBC retreat in Kwale attended by commissioners, directors, managers, regional electoral coordinators and constituency election coordinators.

The audit is believed to have triggered the recent sacking of several directors and managers. Those who were shown the door are former deputy secretary (support services) Wilson Shollei (deputy CEO), Edward Kenga Karisa (finance director) and Dismas Ong’ondi (ICT director).

Former director of voter education and partnerships Joel Mabonga, whose position was among those advertised on September 3, left for the Independent Police Oversight Authority as the Chief Executive Officer.

The commission is also in the process of filling the positions of managers of voter education, procurement and warehousing.

Mr Shollei, Mr Karisa and Mr Willy Gachanja Kamanga were already on suspension from the commission after they were charged alongside the CEO James Oswago with abuse of office and failing to comply with procurement regulations relating to procurement of the Sh1.3 billion biometric voter registration kits.

However, a source at IEBC alleged that the final report had been doctored to protect certain officials and commissioners.

The official also told Sunday Nation that during the Kwale retreat, returning officers had stated how the voter registration and election operations department changed poll results from some constituencies to suit certain parties.

“Incidentally, all the returning officers complained of indecision at the headquarters and alleged external interference with results transmission. No single individual (at IEBC) can be blamed for that if the allegations are found to be true,” the official added.


The internal audit makes no mention of the role of the commissioners— something that some members of IEBC secretariat have quietly questioned.

The official added: “There is not a single chapter reviewing the functions of the commissioners. There was no external stakeholder participation, not even representatives from UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), which funded the workshop, and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). The entire process was a public relations gimmick at best.”

The report also reveals that the commission did not have adequate biometric voter registration (BVR) kits. It was only able to procure 15,894 kits for the 24,614 registration centres, forcing polling stations to share kits.

“This represented an adequacy level of the BVR kits at 65 per cent hence a deficit of 8,720 or 35 per cent. The sharing of kits caused a mix-up of data, which created suspicion and discontent among voters, particularly those who couldn’t register,” the audit report states.

The situation was made much worse by the shortening of the voter registration period from 90 days to 30 days, the scrutiny reveals.

The short period, the commission says, was due to the late procurement and distribution of the kits. The kits were initially expected to arrive in May 2012, but it was not until November that the commission received the consignment.

The BVR system was supplied by France’s Safran Morpho under a government-to-government procurement arrangement after the commission controversially terminated the open tender procurement in early August 2012, citing competing but unspecified vendor interests.

On the Electronic Voter Identification (EVIDs) kits, the audit report states that they worked throughout the day in only 7.5 per cent of the polling stations and only for some time in 80 per cent of the stations.

The kits totally failed in 12.3 per cent of the polling stations.

The kits were supplied by South Africa’s Face Technologies, whose local agent is said to be an MP from North Eastern Kenya and a brother-in-law of one of the commissioners.


The evaluation established that the EVID technology failed due to systemic delays in procurement and the lack of proper training of poll clerks on their use.

Some of the EVID equipment arrived as late as February 28— three days to Election Day. Mr Odinga, in his petition had questioned the rationale of this procurement.

The commission’s ICT director had last December warned that it was likely to fail.

It was found that in some cases, a single device was being used to train between 50 and 100 clerks.

Even then, the devices used for training the clerks markedly differed from the actual ones provided on the polling day.

“The constrained delivery schedule severely compromised IEBC’s ability to configure the devices, provide poll staff with the requisite training on the devices and to deploy them in time for the elections,” notes the audit.

On the same issue, it added: “Another challenge experienced in identification of voters was the introduction of hand-held devices on the polling day while the polling officials were trained on the use of laptops. This caused delays as the poll officials took time to familiarise themselves with the hand-held EVID.”

But our IEBC source said a section of officials was questioning why the commission has not been held responsible for the failures.

“The chairman (Issack Hassan) has publicly said the equipment worked well in 60 per cent of places. Why should the commissioners take credit for that and blame others for the 40 per cent failure yet they were they the ones exerting pressure on the secretariat to procure this system despite clear warnings that it was likely to fail? Clearly, this commission is at war with itself due to a self-inflicted leadership and confidence crisis,” he said.


On the tallying of the votes, the audit unearthed many weaknesses, including forms that were not signed or stamped by officers responsible and casual comments by the officers.

These weaknesses, the audit states, could have been due to fatigue among poll officials, the cumbersome design of the statutory forms and gaps in training on filling out the forms.

The Results Transmission System (RTS), meanwhile, was only able to transmit presidential poll results from 14,252 of 31,981 polling stations (or 44.6 per cent).

For members of the National Assembly, the commission transmitted results electronically from 9,409 polling stations only (29.4 per cent), from 7,976 stations (24.9 per cent) for county ward representatives and from 7,438 stations (23.3 per cent) for county woman representatives.

The system also transmitted results from 7,093 polling stations (22.2 per cent) for the Senate poll and from 6,900 polling stations (21.6 per cent) for the 47 gubernatorial races.

Some of the specific reasons for RTS failure were inadequate knowledge and skills due to lack of proper training, questionable skills of ICT poll officers and erroneous display of results.

The commission also attributes the failures related to BVR, EVIDs and RTS to convoluted contractual arrangements that denied it full ownership of software and user rights.

Further, IEBC blames politicians for interfering with the delimitation of boundaries, which disenfranchised some voters along ethnic and religious lines.

Citing the Suba/Mbita case as an example, the report states that politicians influenced the names and boundaries of constituencies, which led to chaos and demonstrations by constituents, culminating into court cases.