Kenya: Now ECK Denies Rigging Poll in Favour of Kibaki
The Nation (Nairobi)
24 January 2008
Posted to the web 24 January 2008
Electoral Commission of Kenya Wednesday defended itself against accusations of rigging the December 27 presidential election.
In a statement delivered to newsrooms by ECK secretary J. Tsola, the elections body denied having rigged the elections and responded to all allegations made by the Orange Democratic Movement in advertisements that appeared in Sunday newspapers. ECK said it wanted to set the record straight in the public interest.
In the advert, ODM said that even the chairman of the ECK Samuel Kivuitu was on record saying that he is not sure who won the elections in which President Kibaki was declared the winner.
In response, the statement said the question of whether President Kibaki won the elections fairly is a matter of interpretation and not an issue within the ECK mandate to determine.
According to the statement the question is an allegation which has been widely circulated in local and international media. “The actual question posed to the chairman of the ECK by the media was; do you believe that Hon Mwai Kibaki fairly won the election?”
And his response as stated in the statement is: “I don’t know. That is until I see the original records, which I can’t for now unless the court authorises. What we have are records of results from field officers.” The ECK accused the media of deliberately distorting the question as put to Mr Kivuitu by removing the word “fairly” to create the impression that the electoral body is uncertain as to who won the elections.
And the statement continues to say: “The ECK determines the winner of the presidential election on the basis of the final vote tally. In this regard, Mr Mwai Kibaki was pronounced the winner having garnered the highest number of votes – 4,584,721 against Raila Odinga’s 4,352,993.”
ODM had made 15 allegations against the ECK to explain why they rejected the results, which sparked protests in the country immediately they were announced.
More than 500 killed
The protests have claimed lives of more than 500 people and leaving more than 250,000 displaced. Claims by ODM that ECK officers at KICC where votes cast in the whole country were being tallied, altered Forms 16A are untrue, the statement says.
It explains that the form is supposed to be signed at the polling station to confirm the results. And it is signed by the presiding officer and the agents of political parties present. “The returning officer then prepares Form 16, which is a summary of the results contained in all the Forms 16A from all polling stations in a constituency,” the statement says.
ODM had given an example of several constituencies, including Juja, where Forms 16A were allegedly altered. According to ODM, President Kibaki had only 48,293 votes, which were announced at the constituency level while at KICC it was announced that he got 100,390 votes.
The constituency, the ECK said, has 163,657 registered voters and there are 231 polling stations.”As at 1pm on December 28, the returning officer for Juja had tallied votes from 11 polling stations. By then President Kibaki had 48,293 votes as clearly indicated in the advert,” ECK says claims that presiding officers in 42 constituencies refused to make Forms 16A available for signatures by agents are untrue.
“This was meant to enable fictitious results in favour of the President to be completed at KICC,” the ODM had said in their advert. In response the ECK says: “It was reported that the party agents in some ODM and PNU strongholds were frustrated from carrying out their roles. The ECK has, however not received any specific case of a presiding officer refusing any party agents to sign Forms 16A.”