NAIROBI, September 4 – After six months of public inquiry, the Chairman of the Independent Review Commission Judge Johann Kreigler said Thursday that he too can not tell who won last year’s disputed poll.
Kriegler told a media conference that it was impossible to verify the winner owing to the technicalities of the elections. To find out this, he said, one would have to spend months auditing all documents and evaluating other aspects of the polls.
“I am being as honest as anyone can be; I am telling you that I don’t know who won and I will challenge any academician who comes along and says he or she does,” he asserted.
This was the same response Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) Chairman Samuel Kivuitu gave to the media immediately after he announced the results.
Although the Orange Democratic Movement, the civil society, local observers and a cross section of Kenyans had accused the ECK of top level fraud, Kriegler has opposed this view.
Kriegler said there was no valid evidence linking ECK to the alleged manipulation of figures at the main tallying centre at the KICC.
He however said the operations were suspicious because they were done behind closed doors.
The retired Judge added that the inquiry had revealed massive errors in the exercise at the grassroots level.
“We found many mistakes but working at a table with kerosene lamp, with angry agents screaming at you, I am pretty sure that most of us will make the mistakes,” he said.
The team that was appointed in March has received submissions from members of the public, the ECK and other interested parties. It is currently drafting their report which Kriegler said would aim at sealing loopholes that exist in the electoral laws.
The Judge said that he would be handing his report to President Mwai Kibaki on the 17th of this month as scheduled.
The Chair of the Panel of Eminent Persons Kofi Annan is also expected in the country in the course of that week to receive his copy.
Kriegler said that under the accord the president is mandated to make public the recommendations within 14 days of receipt.
“This report will not sit on shelves, it will be out in the public domain; whether it gets implemented and to what extent it gets implemented largely will be in the hands of Kenyans,” Kriegler insisted.
He said that it is imperative on the Kenyans to ensure that recommended reforms see the light of day.
“You will have to decide to what extent you push the political players to make this thing a reality,”