Claims by Deputy President William Ruto of a plot to rig the August vote and Parliament’s rejection of regulations intended to seal loopholes in the voting system have left open the possibility of another disputed State House race outcome.
Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition party Saturday accused Dr Ruto of preparing to reject the outcome of the polls in a letter to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
The letter by Azimio chief legal adviser Paul Mwangi was in response to United Democratic Alliance (UDA) claims that the involvement of Cabinet Secretaries in the presidential campaigns threatens to influence the outcome in favour of Azimio candidate Raila Odinga.
The DP recently also said his supporters are being illegally transferred from their preferred polling centres in a larger scheme to disenfranchise them.
Voters deletion claim
Before that, he had said details of almost a million voters backing his State House bid had been deleted from the IEBC roll.
A preliminary audit by KPMG has exposed irregular inclusion of least 1.18 million voters in the register.
The number includes 246,465 deceased voters, 481,711 people registered more than once as well as 226,143 who were registered with IDs that belong to other people.
The claims and loopholes in the electoral process echo allegations by then opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) before the 2017 General Election.
It was the second time he was challenging the presidential poll outcome, having done so without success in 2013.
Mr Mwangi in the June 10 letter, told the electoral commission that the DP has sensed defeat and is planning to challenge the outcome.
“The legal position being advanced by UDA is duplicitous. What you need to know is that it is strategic and intended to establish grounds for UDA’s legal challenge at the Supreme Court of the eminent Raila Odinga victory in...August,” the letter says.
Last week, UDA wrote to the DPP asking him to initiate criminal proceedings against government officials campaigning for Mr Odinga.
The party singled out Cabinet Secretaries Fred Matiang’i (Interior), Joe Mucheru (ICT), Peter Munya (Agriculture), Eugene Wamalwa (Defence), James Macharia (Transport and Infrastructure) and Keriako Tobiko of Environment.
Conveniently ignoring the law
But Mwangi told the DPP and the electoral agency that UDA is conveniently ignoring the law that exempts Cabinet Secretaries from the rule barring state officers from engaging in politics.
“The United Democratic Alliance knows well that the exemption of Cabinet Secretaries and members of the county executive committee is anchored in law. Their failure to mention the same in their letter and blaming the exemption on unspecified persons or authorities is an attempt to pull the wool over your eyes,” he says in the letter.
Mr Odinga had challenged the exemption of the Cabinet Secretaries in his presidential petition but the Supreme Court insisted it was constitutional.
“An appointed state officer, other than a Cabinet Secretary or a member of a county executive committee shall not, in the performance of their duties act as an agent for, of further the interests of a political party or candidate in an election; or manifest support for or opposition to any political party or candidate in an election,” Section 23 of the Leadership and Integrity Act says.
Involvement of Cabinet Secretaries
While the Supreme Court agreed with Mr Odinga and nullified the outcome of the presidential vote through a majority vote in 2017, it rejected his claims on the involvement of Cabinet Secretaries in political campaigns.
The court said ministers and county executives can dabble in politics as they serve at the pleasure of the president or governor.
“They are political appointees with the express purpose of delivering the manifesto of their appointing authority or his or her political party. It is an essential part of a political government in any democracy,” Supreme Court judges ruled.
The National Assembly on Wednesday threw out changes to the Elections Act that were meant to address key issues that formed the basis of nullifying of the presidential election results five years ago.
IEBC had sought to address pitfalls in results transmission where there is no network in gazetted polling stations, the provision of key poll data, including on access to the system and details of technology and machines used, and the appointment and deployment of returning officers.
It was seeking to cure the problem of 11,000 polling stations with no 3G network, and which the Supreme Court said led to an “inexcusable contravention” when it failed to do so.