Sample of IEBC forms 34A reveals errors in presidential tally

Observers and party agents at Bomas of Kenya

Observers and party agents at Bomas of Kenya on August 13, 2022. There could have been substantial numerical errors on several results transmission forms that IEBC used to determine votes candidates got in the August 9, 2022 presidential election.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

There could have been substantial numerical errors on several results transmission forms that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) used to determine votes candidates got in the August 9, 2022 Presidential election, a Nation analysis of sample polling stations results has established.

A sample of Forms 34A—the document that captures presidential elections at the polling station—in different parts of the country indicate that there are votes that cannot be accounted for, and which could mean that the polls body’s final tally may be erroneous.

Under Kenyan law, Form 34A is the primary document used to tally Presidential election votes and its contents are final. The subsequent forms 34B, C and D are simply a tally of the forms filled at the polling station.

from polling station to bomas infographic

IEBC started uploading forms 34A on its online portal hours after the election closed on August 9.

Inflation of votes

The Nation sampled 233 Forms 34A from across the country, and in the results forms downloaded from IEBC’s website, presidential candidates may have benefitted from inflation of votes, either through overstated registered voters, overstated valid votes cast, and addition errors.

Presiding officers who filled the forms listed the total number of votes that were cast in those polling station. But an addition of votes that each candidate scored in the sampled polling stations shows that the total is slightly higher than what is listed as the votes cast.

Whether the anomalies were from human error or a calculated move by IEBC staff, they have poked holes into the accuracy of the final figures announced by the polls body’s chairperson Wafula Chebukati and which saw him declare William Ruto the President-Elect.

Dr Ruto ran on a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) ticket, with Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua as his running mate. Mr Chebukati said the duo scored 7,176,141 votes or 50.49 per cent of the total valid votes cast.

Eight petitions have been filed seeking to invalidate the August 9, 2022 Presidential election, including one by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his running mate Martha Karua.

None of the petitions delve into the anomaly with totals in the forms 34A. They have, however, questioned cases in 41 polling stations in Bomet and Kiambu, where Mr Odinga and Ms Karua allege to have lost a total of 2,793 votes they said were illegally added to Dr Ruto.

Mr Odinga and Ms Karua came second with 6,942,930 votes, or 48.85 per cent.

Lopur Primary form

Lopur Primary School in Turkana County, for instance, was a polling centre with two stations. In the first polling station, the presiding officer listed 319 valid votes cast, with no spoilt or rejected vote.

But adding the votes each candidate gives a total of 316 votes, meaning there are three votes that cannot be accounted for.

(See the form here Lopur Form 34A)

Deputy President William Ruto, who was declared winner of the presidential election last week, got 186 votes in Lopur Primary School polling station one. Former prime minister Raila Odinga scored 128 votes.

Mr Waihiga Mwaure and Prof George Wajackoyah got one vote each.

Barmish Centre form

Approximately 530 kilometres to the south east at Barmish Centre in Wajir County, another presiding officer listed 279 valid votes cast on the results transmission form he had been furnished with.

In that polling station Dr Ruto got 185 votes, while Mr Odinga got 92. Mr Mwaure failed to get a single vote while Prof Wajackoyah managed one. This brings the total votes garnered by the candidates to 278, meaning one vote remained unaccounted for as there were no spoilt votes listed.

(See the form here Barmish Centre Form 34A)

Bomani form

In Kilifi, along Kenya’s coastline, Bomani Primary School was gazetted as a polling centre with two stations.

In the second station, the presiding officer listed 285 valid votes cast. Mr Odinga alone scored 991 votes, as Dr Ruto managed 81 votes. Prof Wajackoyah got five votes as Mr Mwaure scored nil.

Aside from Mr Odinga’s votes being more than the valid ballots listed, they indicate that the polling station had 200 more voters than legally allowed in a single polling station.

Each polling station was allowed to host a maximum of 700 voters for the 2022 General Election so as to avoid having long queues.

(See the form here Bomani Form 34A)

Kahatia, Olengo forms

In Nakuru’s Kahatia Public Open Land polling station, Nakuru County the presiding officer recorded 222 valid votes cast. There were no spoilt or rejected votes but adding up the candidates’ votes gives a total of 219.

Mr Odinga scored 54 votes as Dr Ruto got 163. Mr Mwaure and Prof Wajackoyah managed one vote each.

(See the form here Kahatia Form 34A)

The same anomaly appeared in Olengo Primary School, Siaya County. The school was a polling centre with two stations.

In the second polling station the presiding officer listed 424 valid votes cast.

Mr Odinga got 424 votes, as Prof Wajackoyah managed one. Dr Ruto and Mr Mwaure got no votes. This means there was an extra ballot that was not accounted for in the results transmission form.

(See the form here Olengo Form 34A)

Ballots unaccounted for

Should the anomaly replicate in several other polling stations, it could mean that several ballots were unaccounted for in the August 9, 2022.

In court, the petitions challenging Dr Ruto’s election are hinged on three main points.

First is whether the IEBC followed due process in tallying, verifying and declaring results from over 14,000 polling stations.

Second is whether the numbers presented by Mr Chebukati on August 15, 2022 add up and give a clear victory to Dr Ruto and his Kenya Kwanza coalition.

The Supreme Court has also been asked to determine whether there was interference with the election process by outsiders with the aid of Mr Chebukati and other IEBC officials and which allowed manipulation of results in favour of Dr Ruto.

Mr Odinga, Ms Karua and Busia Senator-elect Okiya Omtatah hold that even with the figures presented by IEBC which they are disputing, Dr Ruto could not have achieved the constitutionally required 50 per cent plus one vote.

Download a copy of Raila's Supreme Court petition here

The various claims in court on accuracy of numbers could see the Supreme Court rely on experts to come to a conclusion on whether to uphold or nullify the results announced by Mr Chebukati last week.

Mr Odinga and Ms Karua have claimed that they lost 2,793 votes through manipulation of forms 34A in Bomet and Kiambu Counties alone. They have asked the court to order for an audit of all forms that will include comparison with copies of originals that were issued to party agents at polling stations.

Much like in the 2017 Presidential poll that was nullified, the court has been asked to look into areas where thousands of people only voted for the president but ignored the other six vacant positions.

Mr Odinga and Ms Karua argue that a sample of eight counties show that 33,208 voters in those areas only voted for a presidential candidate. In such instances, the IEBC is required to have the other six ballot papers that were not filled.