The Angaza Movement Preliminary Observations on the 2022 Elections
Kenyans expected the IEBC to conduct an election that is free, fair, simple, accurate, verifiable, secure, accountable and transparent. It is these parameters that we use to evaluate the performance of the IEBC.
We have made the following observations on electoral processes:
Failure of KIEMS Kits
- Over 200 KIEMS Kits failed to identify voters, this translates to a lot of voters who may have been disenfranchised.
- In many cases it took the IEBC many hours to allow the use of manual registers to identify voters; which often resulted in vote suppression, as disappointed aspiring voters were turned away, or left in frustration. Procedures adopted were also totally inconsistent from one polling station to another: consistency and transparency are legal requirements and critical in building trust in the integrity of electoral processes
Where KIEMS kits failed to identify persons through biometrical data, there were no systematic procedures for identification of voters through the alphanumerical or manual register, with different polling stations adopting different procedures, and documenting those procedures in different ways which resulted in denying a significant number of voters the right to vote,
The process of transmission and verification of results and the eventual tallying, once again faltered and left Kenyans in the dark for several days, feeding suspicions of malpractice. This was after a start that, on the face of it, appeared refreshingly efficient and transparent and gave Kenyans hope of greater transparency than in past recent elections.
- The lack of civic and voter education can be attributed to an unusually high number of rejected votes. While the issue of rejected voters has been settled by the supreme court, it continues to raise questions around the aggregate tally.
Unilateral and Incomplete Announcement of Election Results by the Chair of IEBC
- The announcement of the results at the National Tallying Centre left more questions than answers It was done in the absence of the announcement of results from at least 28 constituencies, if not more. This was a significant proportion, due to the multiple failure of KIEMS kits. The announcement also did not consider numerous queries and comments of party agents on the floor of the National Tallying Centre. The number, potential impact and gravity of the concerns raised are therefore unknown. Most disturbingly, are the concerns raised by four Commissioners, about the results being incomplete and therefore unverified based on a questionable and faulty Form 34C,
- The disunity of the Commission was underscored by the fallout by most of the commissioners, who announced simultaneously at another venue in the city, that they had no confidence in the final tallied result and the issues concerning the verification and other concerns raised by them had been ignored. They alleged that the chairperson did not consult, that the results were incomplete, unverified and therefore they could not take ownership of the final results as announced. This division has impacted the trust and credibility of the results in the eyes of the public.
Chaos during Tallying
- We condemn the chaos by political actors towards the end of tallying in Bomas. Violence is never a solution and models unacceptable behaviour by leaders to their followers. This must be prosecuted.
Unilateral Cancellation of Elections by the IEBC Chairperson
On August 8 2022, IEBC chairman Chebukati announced that elections were cancelled in 2 counties, Mombasa and Kakamega, and various other places like Pokot South, Kacheliba, and Tharaka Nithi county. According to Chebukati, errors and other mix-ups in the details and images of candidates on the ballot papers rendered them unusable. However, Chebukati did not explain to voters how these errors had happened, as the Commission must have signed off on proof copies of ballot papers and tender documents prescribing document specifications. This has had the effect of disenfranchising voters, and offending the Constitution, which provides for when elections shall be held.
The statement on August 18, 2022 by Chebukati, without a plenary meeting or consultation with other Commissioners, that these elections will now be postponed indefinitely is a violation of the Electoral Laws. This is a travesty of justice for the people in Mombasa, Kakamega and six other constituencies. It is unacceptable that the IEBC Chair is allowed to act with such an egregious lack of regard for laws, regulations and procedures Intimidation and harassment which the Chair used, cannot be a basis for justifying the postponement of any election in respect of Regulation 64(a) of The General Regulations of the Elections Act.
The division within the IEBC, the concerns and matters raised has dented the credibility of the process. It is important and urgent that these issues be investigated further through an independent and transparent audit. Public officials must be subjected to greater scrutiny as they hold office in trust on behalf of citizens. Over the years and most recently in 2017, public officials cited for various malpractices were left scot free. The bungled 2017 elections, mirror some of the recurring incidents and it is time for individuals to be held accountable if they are found culpable.
We also condemn the defamatory, threatening and profiling on social media and elsewhere on different media, of all the Commissioners and other personnel of the IEBC including Returning officers. The commissioners are being subject to intense pressure and threats, many from their home areas profiling them as “traitors”. Political principals must call on their followers to desist from victimising these public servants, who believe they are acting in good faith to protect the public interest.
Loss of Lives
Elections have often caused human rights abuses, loss of lives and serious injury. We are saddened by the unnecessary deaths of people in the country during this electoral period, among them:
- Embakasi East Returning Officer Daniel Musyoka was abducted on official duty and later found dead in Loitoktok.
- Brian Olunga, aide of an aspirant, was shot dead at point blank range by eventual electoral victor Didmus Barasa,
- Eunice Nyambane was attacked and killed on Juja road by rowdy crowds who attacked her family’s car. Her child is currently in hospital
- Two individuals, including Edel Queen Akinyi fell off a police Land Cruiser in Kondele, Kisumu. One of them is in critical condition at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral hospital.
- Mohamed Kanyare, a young Presiding Officer in Eldas Constituency, Wajir County, was shot after refusing to alter an election results form in favour of a particular candidate. He has since lost his leg to amputation after being shot .
These are just the cases of those that have been highlighted by the media, there could be more. We demand that the police and relevant authorities thoroughly investigate, prosecute and adjudicate these crimes. We also remind Kenyans that the family of the late IEBC ICT Director Chris Msando has yet to receive justice for his murder in 2017
Strengthening the Rule of Law
The next phase of the cycle, post election dispute resolution, is a critical stage that requires a high level of sobriety as parties canvass contentious issues. We have received assurances that the Judiciary is prepared to handle all electoral related disputes both administratively and armed with the requisite human resources. We urge the Judiciary to remain an impartial arbiter in the process as the tranquility and peace of the nation depends on the perceptions and trust bestowed on its citizens.
As the Angaza movement, we continue to document the gains or losses from the 2022 elections especially on the participation of youth, women and marginalized communities together with the various aspects of human rights as enshrined in our Constitution. We urge citizens to remain vigilant, as a single incident could erode the progress Kenya has made since the promulgation of the Constitution 2010.