Kenyans are reportedly expressing shock after an official of the
country's Electoral Commission admitted to the Kriegler Commission of inquiry
that he purposely entered higher presidential votes for incumbent president
Mwai Kibaki in the disputed December 27, 2007 elections. They are calling for
the immediate disbandment of the electoral commission and a new one constituted
to oversee free, fair and credible elections in the future.
also contend that the electoral commission failed to carry out its mandate in
the last disputed elections, which plunged the country into a political crisis
and resulted in the loss of lives and property. Emmanuel Jummah is a Kenyan
political analyst. From the capital, Nairobi, he tells reporter Peter Clottey
some Kenyans want errant electoral officials during the last disputed elections
has been that of shock. In our newsroom what happened was that after we
broadcast the story, the main bone of contention the biggest one was the fact
that they (electoral commission officials) admitted openly that they announced
the wrong man who lost as having been the one who won a parliamentary seat in
Central Kenya. We asked the public whether the guy who won by way of default
should now resign, and it was a resounding yes. More than 80% said yes the guy
should resign and they were raising questions as to what could have then just
have happened to the entire electoral process?" Jummah noted.
He said some
Kenyans are expressing skepticism about the whole electoral process.
"They now seem
to believe that a lot may have happened that may have been just an example of
some of the serious issues that affected that election, and you know that it
was a very controversial exercise. And many are now calling for the disbandment
of the ECK (Electoral Commission of Kenya) as soon as possible. They want this
electoral body just done away with so that they can start on a clean slate," he
Kenyans are reportedly expressing their willingness to be vigilant in future
vigilant, and I think now people have learned lessons and we are hoping that
from the findings of the Kriegler Commission we are going to be able to put in
place systems that would be able to deal with such malpractices in the future.
Systems that would ensure that people would not use their own discretion to
change things around on their own whim, systems that would also ensure that as
the results come in you are able to key in somewhere and you will be able to
press a button and get the full tally than having to wait and depending on
individuals who have to travel from point A to point B to bring the results
manually on pieces of paper, something that somebody can easily change when
they want," Jummah pointed out.
He said Kenyans
should be comforted that the commission of inquiry will come up with
recommendations that would address the deficiencies in the electoral system.
"The main thing
that Kenyans are happy about is the fact that this Kriegler Commission is going
to sit and bring its report, a report that we hope we are going to use to
strengthen the system and change the laws that need to be changed perhaps
change sections of the constitution. Just to strengthen the ECK and ensure that
next time we are having an election then it is going to be free of
manipulation," he said.
Kenyans have learned a lot from the December 27 disputed elections.
lessons have been learnt actually. You remember that just before Kenyans went
for the elections, there were lots of issues raised. Many were arguing that
this was a body that was appointed largely by the incumbent president, and the
guys who are going to be running against him had never had a hand in its
appointment. And many had argued that it needed to be balanced in one way or
the other," Jummah pointed out.
He said there
was a need to fully transform the way the electoral commission is constituted.
"From where I
sit I don't think that is a solution where you have political parties being the
one to participate in appointing electoral commissioners because then what it
means is that if you are appointed by one particular party then you owe your
allegiance to them. So, there is always a possibility that when you get an
opportunity you want to do something that you will be able to benefit the party
that appointed you to that body in the first place," he said.
Justice Kriegler Commission is mandated to look into what transpired during the
disputed December 2007 elections, which led to the loss of lives and property.
Meanwhile, the electoral
commissioner who is testifying before the Kriegler Commission said the
commission's national tallying centre failed to detect the glaring mistakes and
went ahead to announce the results with the anomalies. During the testimony the
electoral official reportedly said main opposition leader Raila Odinga was
indicated in the official record he prepared as having garnered 17,706 votes
while he actually scored 29,648.