Pressure piles on Chebukati team over issues raised by court in 2017

Former CJ David Maraga

Former CJ David Maraga reading the Supreme Court ruling on annulment of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s 2017 victory. Back then, the Supreme Court said the IEBC committed irregularities in the transmission of results.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The annulment of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s 2017 victory by the Supreme Court under the stewardship of former CJ David Maraga has come back to haunt the IEBC.

Political parties, the Supreme Court and civil society have in the recent past demanded assurances that the loopholes identified in the electoral process in 2017 have been addressed.

With just 60 days to the August 9 General Election, pressure is piling on the Wafula Chebukati-led Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to explain if and how it has addressed the thorny issues.

In a petition filed by then-National Super Alliance (Nasa) presidential candidate Raila Odinga challenging Mr Kenyatta’s victory in the August 7, 2017 presidential election, the IEBC was blamed for failures in the transmission of results, which the highest court in the land said fell short of requirements stipulated by the Constitution.

Demanded proof

Mr Odinga and his main competitor in the August 9 presidential election, Deputy President William Ruto, as well as Mr Maraga’s successor, Chief Justice Martha Koome, have demanded proof from the IEBC that it has since cleaned up its house and addressed the problems that led to the nullification of the 2017 presidential election.

Back then, the Supreme Court said the IEBC committed irregularities in the transmission of results.

“If not, this court, whenever called upon to adjudicate on a similar dispute will reach the same decision if the anomalies remain the same, irrespective of who the aspirants may be. Consistency and fidelity to the Constitution is a non-wavering commitment this court makes,” the Supreme Court judges said in 2017.

One of the most conspicuous irregularities of that election was the distribution by the IEBC of prescribed forms that either lacked or had different security features. For instance, it was discovered that of the 290 Forms 34B that were used to declare the final results, 56 had no security features.

Security features

The court wondered where the security features touted by the IEBC disappeared to and whether the critical documents could still be considered genuine. It also blamed the IEBC for failing to transmit electronic results from more than 11,000 polling stations, which it said had no 3G network coverage.

Mr Odinga now wants the electoral agency to outline how prepared it is to transmit the results of the forthcoming election in accordance with the Constitution. The Azimio leader on Sunday sought to know whether the commission had developed constitutionally compliant protocols for transmission of results from the polling station to the national tallying centre.

“What measures has the commission put in place to ensure that the provisions of Section 39(1C) of the Elections Act, regarding electronic transmission of results and the publishing of polling result forms on an online public portal, are complied with? What is the status of the supply, delivery, installation, upgrade, testing and simulation of servers of the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) system?” he posed.

DP Ruto’s team’s six demands to the IEBC include a blow-by-blow account of the electoral process from voting, tallying and result transmission, particularly in light of the dispute over the number of polling stations with 3G network coverage. The Kenya Kwanza Alliance also wants the IEBC to make public a report by audit firm KPMG on scrutiny of the voter register and raw certified copies of the principal voter register. It also wants the IEBC to make public certified copies of the voter register by polling station, ward, constituency and county.