NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 27 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga put up a spirited fight at the hearing of the petition against Uhuru Kenyatta’s win, insisting the election was flawed and systems deployed destined to fail.
Odinga through his legal team urged the Supreme Court to treat his petition challenging presidential election results purely on matters of law, and not as a contest between the CORD leader and President-elect Kenyatta.
In his submissions, Senior Counsel George Oraro told the court that it had a noble duty of dispensing the matter objectively by scrutinising systems failures at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for the sake of future elections.
“The issues in this petition are not flippant, they are grave issues and important for future elections in this country. It is important that we address them and not look at them as a contest between two antagonists,” Oraro submitted in opening remarks.
Odinga’s lawyer who focused a larger part of his submissions on the process of compiling the voter register, argued that it was impossible to account for the people who were not in the principal voter register but voted on March 4.
He emphasised that the voter register was closed for alterations after IEBC gazetted it on February 18.
He said that the principal register as gazetted by IEBC failed to capture the fact that there were more than 30,000 voters whose biometric features were not captured and who were allowed to vote, contrary to the law.
“We have had an election that nobody can confirm if it was credible, transparent and that responded to the basic minimum standards of a free and fair election. IEBC is contemptuous by suggesting in its response that the technology deployed in the election was complimentary to the manual processes,” he said.
He averred that the Elections Act did not provide for the existence of two voter registers and that IEBC engaged in an illegality amending the voter register after it had been gazetted with 14,352,533 voters.
In reference to the minutes of internal meetings of the commission, Oraro quoting IEBC Director of Voter registration, Immaculate Kasait in a meeting of February 19 says that there was a further review on the 14,352,545 registered voters.
In the annexed minutes, Kasait confirmed that there was creation of the special register which Oraro said was done without participation of all stakeholders and was never inspected.
He told the court that IEBC and its chairman Issack Hassan were bound by constitutional provisions on public service and that he had the obligation to give the public information he had in good time and accurately.
He submitted that it was impossible to ascertain who voted and who did not vote but maintained that majority of the inflated figures of votes cast arising from the discrepancy were in regions perceived to be Kenyatta’s strongholds.
“You will count these votes and the most inflated numbers from the special register were Rift Valley, in Meru and in Kiambu,” he alleged.
On the use of technology, Oraro capitalized on an internal memo by IEBC’s Director of Information and Communication Dismas Ong’ondi which warned of the risks posed by poll books, which were to be supplied by a South African firm, Face Technologies
Ong’ondi in a December 6, 2012 memo had warned that the kits required more time and a parallel technology for them to function optimally.
He advised the commission not to award the kits tender to Face Technologies because of the risks that the equipment might not work.
“Considering the strict time lines, this will give the commission very limited time to carry out necessary configurations, testing and deployment to all the polling stations in the country,” Oraro read from the memo.
He insisted that with Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) there was a need for functional Electronic Voter Identification Devices (EVID) so that “ghost voters and ghost votes” are removed from the electoral system.
He continues his submissions on Thursday morning with presentations on tallying and the result transmission system.