NAIROBI, August 25 – A senior Electoral Commission of Kenya official Agnes Kisero appeared before the Kreigler Commission in camera on Monday to shed light on the controversial presidential tally from President Mwai Kibaki’s home turf of Central Province.
Kisero who was in charge of 21 constituencies in the region during last year’s polls was expected to defend allegations that figures from the region were doctored in favour of the President.
She was also expected to clear her name on accusations that she pressured returning officers to release the results.
While making his submission last week, Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) Chair Samuel Kivuitu admitted that some returning officers had complained that there were under pressure to release results.
Despite being close to the tallying centre at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi, results from certain constituencies in the region came in late raising suspicion especially from the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).
High voter turnout in the constituencies of Juja, Maragwa, Kieni, Kandara, Lari, and Kirinyaga Central also caused objection from both the ODM and the European Union (EU) observers, who claimed results were manipulated.
ODM refused to accept the results, which stamped President Kibaki’s victory in last year’s polls spurring two months of civil unrest early this year resulting to over 1,000 deaths and displacement of more than 350,000 people.
The Independent Review Commission (IREC) was appointed after the peace efforts by the African Union, which yielded the government of national unity, to probe the circumstances surrounding the Presidential tally and make necessary institutional and legal reforms.
Kivuitu and Commissioner Jack Tumwa have already appeared before the Commission and absolved themselves and fellow commissioners from any malpractices, choosing to shift blame to junior officers.
Kivuitu admitted that massive discrepancies were discovered during an internal audit carried by the commission, while Tumwa said that he had all reasons to doubt results from over 70 constituencies, which recorded voter turnout of over 80 percent.
The Information Technology Manager at the ECK, Ayub Imbira, is also set to appear before the commission to clarify why the panel’s IT department advised the commission to abandon electronic transfer of results during the polls.
ECK’s secretary Suleiman Chege is also expected to testify.
Sources say that the commission has abandoned plans to summon key politicians owing to technicalities of the grand coalition and the time limit.
IREC winds up its proceedings mid next month.