, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 16 – The Elections Observation Group (ELOG) has called on the Kenya African National Union (KANU) to provide proof of allegations that the Kericho by-election was rigged.
Brian Weke, the Executive Director of the Institute for Education in Democracy says all the crucial documents – Form 35 and 36 – were found to be corresponding and showed that there were no errors committed in the process.
“It’s noteworthy to mention that apart from the county Form 36, all polling station results declaration forms were signed as true and correct by both KANU and JAP agents.”
“Based on this, our conclusion is that the results were accurate,” said Weke.
He has urged KANU to table evidence indicating otherwise and follow established electoral dispute resolution mechanisms.
While noting that even though there were improvements in the management of elections in the country, ELOG stated that there are critical issues that need to be addressed as the country gears up for the next General Election.
“The just concluded by-elections offered the country an opportunity to conduct a litmus test in terms of assessing the state of electoral preparedness of all stakeholders and processes towards the 2017 elections,” said ELOG.
“There is need for an elaborate civic education program especially in the electoral process.”
“Marginalized areas are characterized by high illiteracy levels as well as a population of the elderly who can be easily manipulated during the voting process,” ELOG affirmed.
The observation group stated that allegations of voter bribery were rife in the Kericho, Malindi by-elections as well as incidences of assisted voters which were well over 100 in various polling stations.
“The IEBC therefore needs to carry out an evaluation of the current program to establish gaps in training or otherwise.”
“A more robust voter education is required to address the high number of assisted voters, rejected ballots and those who appear misinformed being recorded.”
The observers noted on the need to address ethics around elections especially for voters.
Still on the point of voter bribery, the group cited that that IEBC needs to state clear rules on how many agents a party should be allowed to have at a polling station.
This is after it was noted that the agents were influencing voters.
“A deeper understanding of this would persuade voters from taking bribes for votes,” the observation group highlighted.
Also highlighted was the need to have bigger polling stations to protect the secrecy of the ballot.
“IEBC should ensure that all earmarked polling stations have adequate space to guarantee the secrecy of the ballot.”
“Some voters can attest to it that some of our polling stations are too small. This exposes the voter to insecurity as the next person can see whom you’ve voted for,” the group stated.
Of concern is the increased lack of confidence in the IEBC by Kenyans.
“Current cases facing the commission over the years have depleted the confidence Kenyans have in the commission.”
“While we applaud the efforts of the IEBC in addressing the violations of leadership and Integrity Act, more should be done to firmly deal with electoral offences if the just concluded by elections is to go by,” said Duncan.
ELOG recommends that the lessons learnt from previous elections should be used as building blocks towards improving electoral process in the run up to the 2017 general elections.