World’s watching, say envoys in call for a free and fair poll

Henriette Geiger.

EU Ambassador to Kenya Henriette Geiger.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

The European Union (EU) and the British government have urged the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to conduct a credible election, noting that the whole world has its eyes trained on Kenya.

EU Ambassador to Kenya Henriette Geiger and her British counterpart Jane Mariott spoke during the National Election Conference in Nairobi.

Supreme Court Judge Njoki Ndung’u, who spoke on behalf of Chief Justice Martha Koome, said the courts would fast-track hearing of 31 pending petitions related to party nominations.

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati allowed the media to conduct parallel vote tallying “but do not announce the results because that is our work.”

Mr Chebukati had warned that the pending petitions will affect the printing of ballot papers and that the only available option is to have elections in the affected areas postponed. Ms Geiger revealed that the EU has sent election observers to the country.

“Kenya is the leading democracy in the East African region. What matters here in Kenya matters a lot to the world and we are here to support Kenya’s democratic process,” Ms Geiger spoke during the conference.

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party presidential candidate Raila Odinga was represented by Nyeri Deputy Governor Caroline Karugu while Deputy President William Ruto had United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Secretary-General Veronica Maina .The other presidential candidates, Mr George Wanjakoya and Mr David Mwaure, opted to attend in person. Ms Mariott urged the institutions charged with overseeing the elections — the Judiciary, the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP), the security agencies among others — to play their roles effectively in a manner that “reflects the will of the people.”

Mr Chebukati maintained that the election will be free, fair and transparent and ruled out claims of possible ballot stuffing.

Mr Odinga had last week claimed that there are plans to have extra ballot papers printed and shipped into the neighbouring countries from where they will be marked in favour of his rival and later smuggled into the country through Bungoma and stuffed in ballot boxes.

Yesterday, Mr Chebukati said only 132,190,610 ballot papers for all the six elective positions will be shipped into the country from Greece. Inform Lykos (Hellas) SA was awarded a Sh3 billion tender in October 2021, to print the ballot papers.

“The ballot papers will be equivalent to the 22, 102, 532 registered voters for every elective position,” said Mr Chebukati.

IEBC has gazetted 16,098 candidates to contest the 1,882 six elective positions — President, governors (47), senators (47), National Assembly members from single member constituencies (290), woman reps (47) and members of county assemblies (1,450).

A breakdown of the ballot papers for each of the six elective positions shows that the presidential position, which is one, will have 22,102,532 ballot papers and Member of the National Assembly 22,102,532 ballot papers.

Governor and senator positions each will get 22,102,532 ballot papers. Woman rep positions (21,674,465) will receive less ballot papers because the Kericho County seat did not have a competitor and IEBC declared the only candidate elected unopposed.

MCA positions will get 22,088,091 ballot papers. Two candidates in Baringo and Garissa counties have been declared elected unopposed.