, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 24 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has pointed out glaring discrepancies in the Okoa Kenya initiative signatures collected by the CORD coalition.
During a press briefing on Thursday, the Commission’s Vice Chairperson Lilian Mahiri-Zaja displayed some signatures which appeared in the shape of animals while many booklets had entries that were illegible due to poor handwriting.
She pointed out that in some cases, one signature covered multiple records and a number of booklets had entries that were not signed.
“In some booklets, one signature covered multiple records. In some cases such as I booklet number 116, the records bore different marks instead of signatures. There were drawings of cows and other animals. Ten booklets had some blank pages,” she revealed.
IEBC chairman Issack Hassan stated that while there was no referendum law, the commission applied the existing legislation liberally but still the initiative fell short of expectation in the initial verification process.
“Following the data capture process 1,633,577 records were transferred from the hard copy booklets into soft copy. The 1,633,577 records entailed the raw data that was to be cleaned and further analysed for purposes of verification,” he said.
IEBC received a total of 1,633,577 signatures but its report following the verification process had a total of 891,598 signatures which is below the threshold of one million votes required for a referendum.
He explained that the process was done diligently and professionally despite claims of irregularities by CORD leaders.
While emphasising that the commission was being unfairly targeted by the CORD coalition, Hassan Thursday stated that the signatures were thoroughly scrutinised and taken through several verification stages.
“As is the case in verifying signatures, the commission must attest, affirm and confirm with some high degree of certainty that indeed the supporters of the initiative as listed are registered voters. If there is any doubt on the authenticity of the records in as far as voter registration is concerned, such a person may not be included,” he stated
He revealed that in some records there were no ID numbers and in others signatures were cancelled but not countersigned.
“When verifying the supporters of the initiative’s registered voters, the central data base of registered voters becomes very useful in processing the information. With the BVR system, the commission is able to run a list of over a million signatures against the data base using the National ID cards and passport numbers,” he said.
Hassan described the process as thorough.
“The 1,633,577 records were further processed in order to establish those that were valid records for purposes of verification. When the law speaks of the verification of signatures of registered voters, it was considered that only records with National ID or passport numbers will be taken to the next level of verification,” Mahiri-Zaja said.
She explained that the process of data capture and analysis was based on the assumption that the signatures appearing against the names and ID numbers were of the persons for which they appear.
She outlined that the records were further processed in order to establish those that were valid records for purposes of verification.
According to her, the process of cleaning the data yielded a total of 1,210,707 signatures.
“The 1,210,707 records were subjected to further analysis for quality purposes. A closer scrutiny of these records showed some anomalies that needed to be taken care of. Invalid entries entered in the ID/PP number column were removed,” she said.
She indicated that some entries had characters that were not consistent with the conventional numbering of National IDs/Passports numbers.
“In some, ID/Passport number entries that contained wild characters such as (, &,!,?|>…) were removed resulting into clean ID/ Passport Numbers. At this stage, there were a total of 1,205 entries found invalid and hence removed.”
She stated that the final process of verification yielded 891,598 signatures which she stated was below the one million mark.
CORD has threatened to take the electoral commission to court following the move by IEBC to ‘deny’ them what they allege as their constitutional right.
The commission stated that if the coalition felt that they were not served to their maximum expectation, they are free to go to court.