Glaring errors raise questions over 2017 polls

Monday May 18 2020

The fully equipped media centre at Bomas of Kenya, the IEBC National Tallying Centre. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Glaring errors in the results of the August 8, 2017, General Election, published on the website of the Independent Election and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), have kicked up a storm, with leaders calling for a reorganisation of the commission before the proposed referendum and the 2022 General Election.

The commission hurriedly pulled down the results, citing typographical errors, but not before several individuals had accessed the information and spotted the inconsistencies. It took three years to verity and upload the data.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr and ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna called for the reorganisation at the commission before the referendum and 2022 General Election.


Mr Kilonzo and Mr Sifuna are wondered why the commission could not get its data right in the three years, further denting the integrity of the 2017 General elections.

The commission erred in the people it declared winners in a number of constituencies, an even the political parties that sponsored them.


Mr Kilonzo Jnr noted that the abnormalities could be a case of the IEBC’s refusal to embrace the Election Management System (EMS), especially the electronic results transmission (ERT).

“What is coming out is unfortunate and lends credence to the doubts of mismanagement at the IEBC. The biggest reform we need in this country are electoral reforms and the IEBC,” Mr Kilonzo said.
Currently, the IEBC has only three members, a chairman, Mr Wafula Chebukati, and commissioners Boya Molu and Abdi Guliye.

The EMS, according to the election laws enacted ahead of the 2017 elections, provided that it be audited after a year, meaning this data should have been out by August 2018.

The IEBC has a constitutional mandate of conducting elections and referenda, and delimiting electoral boundaries.

“IEBC currently lacks both legality in that its membership has not been revamped after its vice chair and some commissioners left. More importantly, it lacks across the broad political legitimacy due to, among other things, disputes amongst its senior ranks,” said Ms Waiguru.


For instance, Mbita is still mentioned as a constituency despite the IEBC having renamed and gazetted it as Suba North.

Interestingly, although Millie Odhiambo was announced as Suba North MP on an ODM ticket, the data that was pulled down shows that she contested on an ANC ticket and got a paltry 65 votes. The data shows that Noah Odhiambo got the highest number of votes (27,208) on an ODM ticket.

Ms Eve Akinyi Obara is the current ODM MP for Kasipul Kabondo but the IEBC data has Silvance Osele as the MP on an ODM ticket with 27,496 votes. The data shows that Ms Obara contested on a Jubilee ticket and managed only 69 votes. Ms Obara succeeded Mr Obara.

In Dagoretti South, former MP Dennis Waweru is listed as the winner in 2017 general on a Jubilee Party ticket.

Mr John Kiarie, the Jubilee MP whom the IEBC declared that winner, is listed as having managed 12,708 votes as an Independent candidate.


In neighbouring Kibra Constituency, Mr Martin Oduor is listed as having won the seat on an ODM ticket with 66,914 votes, with the winner, the late Kenneth Okoth, is listed as having got 6,996 votes as an Independent candidate.
The commission still had Ahmed Kolosh of ODM as Wajir West MP despite the man having won on a Jubilee ticket in a 2019 by-election after the court nullified his 2017 victory over electoral malpractices.

“What we are seeing is indicative of the rot in the commission. It shows that they were given figures from elsewhere to announce and now they are finding it difficult to release verifiable data. The commission is still unaware that elections in Kenya are a matter of life and death,” Mr Sifuna said.

“The current commissioners should not be in office now. They cannot be trusted with an electoral process. They deliberately decided not to follow the law,” he added.

The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report recommends that new commissioners be recruited ahead of the referendum and the 2022 general elections Critical offices at the IEBC remain vacant after their former holders were forced out unceremoniously. Four commissioners also resigned in a huff, saying they could not work with Mr Chebukati.

The commission is yet to recruit a substantive chief executive officer following the sacking of former office holder Ezra Chiloba.
Mr James Muhati resigned in March this year as the IEBC’s Director of ICT and his position remains vacant, despite its being crucial to the commission’s need to embrace technology in the conducting elections and transmitting results.

“It can hardly achieve a legal quorum and its decisions are legally contestable. Parliament needs to urgently deal with the legal issues and ensure that the commission that handles the referendum and the subsequent elections is without legal or political constraints,” Ms Waiguru said.

Doubts also linger over whether the commission, as currently constituted, can conduct a proper review of electoral boundaries.