NAIROBI, Kenya, May 26 – The Elections Observation Group (ELOG) intends to deploy 1,600 observers to monitor the General Election in August.
ELOG National Coordinator Mulle Musau told Capital FM News during a media editors breakfast meeting on Friday that the observer group will deploy 1,000 observers to help it conduct a Parallel Vote Tabulation(PVT) for the presidential poll with the remaining 600 being deployed to monitor the gubernatorial elections in three selected counties.
“We’ll (ELOG) have the rural-urban dimensions, the densely and scarcely populated areas, the political parties and nature of politics and we’ll make deductions on how the elections are going to go according to that sample,” Musau said.
“We (ELOG) also want to have a further 600 PVT observers to selected three gubernatorial seats so that we will be able to make a projection of three counties and the presidency,” he added saying the sample will be thorough and representative.
According to Musau, ELOG will give an objective and independent view of the authenticity of results once announced by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) based on the information gathered by its observers.
He noted that the setting up of parallel tallying centres by political parties could present a major challenge to the country adding that it will be difficult for political formations to declare themselves losers from their own tallying centres.
“There is only one manager of elections in the country – IEBC – that has been given the mandate to run elections and announce results. But in as much as everyone has the freedom to do their independent tallies, there must be another independent eye that watches these elections because parties will do so in a partisan manner,” he pointed out.
“There’s nobody who will do their math in their bedroom and come out and say they are not the winner. We hope to be the one group that people can come to find objective information and we’re structured as such,” the ELOG executive pointed out.
Musau exuded confidence in ELOG’s ability to deliver a credible and independent PVT citing the successful tabulation of the 2013 General Election when it projected President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory at 49.7 per cent, the actual IEBC tally placing it at 50.07 percent.
He however said in the event that there are huge discrepancies that surpass the recommended 3 per cent margin of error compared to the IEBC tally, the observer group will be able conduct an audit with an aim of re-validating its findings.
“In the event that we have a difference of over 6 per cent and we’ve verified our process and confirmed that our tally is accurate, we’ll go back to IEBC and point out the discrepancies to them,” Musau said.
Earlier in the meeting, ELOG released findings of a study on the recently concluded party primaries which indicated that only forty-eight out of sixty-three polling centers sampled had adequate electoral material.
According to the report, fifteen out of the sixty-three centers observed had inadequate or no voting materials at all leading to delays in commencement of polling with rampant cases of violence being reported in fourteen centres.
“We witness militias being formed, a lot of violence being meted out against opponents so that cannot be a free election,” said Musau
“We do not want to have those cases going to the General Election because a free and fair election means that everybody is able to participate and not just a select few individuals,” he added.
The report also pointed out that eight out of the centres sampled had poorly trained polling officials which made it difficult to ascertain those eligible to vote.
Other incidences highlighted in the report are partisan election officials, failure by polling clerks to use party membership registers for identification of eligible voters, active campaigning during voting and violation of the secrecy of those casting their votes.
ELOG recommends that the electoral body intensifies voter education to avoid cases where voters are unduly influenced during the voting, strict adherence to electoral rules and recruitment of adequate polling officials by the electoral agency so that cases where political parties agents assume the role of polling officials are avoided.
“It is critical that we get adequate voter education because if we do not we’re going to disenfranchise voters as a results of spoilt or rejected votes. If you go to vote and your vote got discarded because you did not do it properly, it means you did not vote,” Musau observed.