, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 1- It’s all systems go as the referendum campaigns enters the homestretch with the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) assuring that it has everything in place for Wednesday’s vote.
IIEC boss James Oswago told a press briefing on Sunday that they have distributed the referendum materials to all 17 regional warehouses which are now being forwarded to the respective polling stations.
“We have distributed tonnes and tonnes of materials and they are already in the regions. Ballot boxes, ballot papers and various other forms are already in the regions awaiting transfer to the polling stations or on transit within our own schedule,” he said.
The distribution was carried out using eight 10 tonne-lorries and four 20 tonne- trucks with police officers providing security for the materials in transit and those in warehouses countrywide. A total of 63,247 police officers will be deployed across the country to ensure that security is maintained.
Mr Oswago said the commission has engaged a team of 175,919 personnel including returning officers, tallying clerks and poll agents who will oversee the exercise and enable them to release the final results 36 hours after the completion of the vote.
IIEC Deputy Chief Electoral Officer Gladys Shollei said in an effort to ensure that the process is transparent and no rigging takes place, each of the 27,689 polling stations will have eight referendum agents.
On fears that the tallying clerks and returning officers might be used to rig the results, Mrs Shollei said these officials are permanent and pensionable employees of IIEC and therefore they will be expected to be answerable to it. Nearly 29,000 observers have been accredited including 2,167 media personnel and 76 journalists from international media, diplomats from various embassies and international organisations.
Laptops and 21,000 mobile phones that are specially configured will be used to transmit the results to the center. For the 42 constituencies that are far flung and where there might be transportation hitches, the commission has made provisions for the returning officers to be airlifted to Nairobi.
“There will be a total of 21 aircrafts to be used in this exercise. There are also other aircrafts on standby to be deployed should the need arise,” IIEC said.
To ensure that results are tabulated correctly and transparently as they come in from the 210 constituencies and the same communicated promptly to the public, the commission has set up a National Tallying Centre at the Bomas of Kenya where screens have been mounted and will be used to beam live provisional results directly from the polling points.
“The IIEC will transmitting provisional results electronically from each and every polling station simultaneously to the various constituency tallying centers and to the National Tallying Center,” the commission said.
However, for the official declarations of results, IIEC will use the physical form 7 as provided for in the Constitution of Kenya Review (Referendum) regulations 2010 which returning officers will be expected to sign.
The long road to the campaign period officially ends on Monday after which the official results on whether Kenyans have adopted or rejected the draft constitution will be expected to be announced by Thursday August 5.
The commission also ruled out any extension of the voting hours which are open from 6am to 6pm saying this would be enough time for people to cast their ballot.