Stop confusion on election mandates

Monday July 17 2017

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The debate on the tallying and transmission of election results was settled by the court.

It declared that votes counted, tallied and announced at the polling station are final and open to public dissemination.


The ruling was made on the basis of Articles 86 and 138 of the Constitution, which the High Court and the Appeal Court established had been breached by provisions of the Elections Act and electoral regulations.

However, the matter keeps coming up, indicating that either it has not been well understood or has been subjected to a whimsical interpretation, for whatever reason.


The latest debate has been triggered by the chief executive of the Communications Authority of Kenya, Mr Francis Wangusi, who declared that parallel tallying centres can only announce results after they have been declared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Principally, it is the constitutional mandate of the IEBC to count and announce results.

But once that has been done at the polling station, they are final and cannot be altered or overturned unless by an election court.


Anyone can tally and transmit them; the only caveat being that they cannot declare the winner; that being the role of the IEBC.

But many tend to confuse vote tallying and announcement, on the one hand, and the declaration of the winner, on the other hand.

A narrative has wrongly been peddled that setting up a tallying centre is illegal and that announcing results is unacceptable.

Media have always done their independent tallying and announced results based on figures collected from polling stations.

Political parties do the same. And all of them are planning to do just that on August 8.

Thus, it is indefensible for people like the CA chief executive to make declarations that are spurious and untenable.


The Constitution has express provisions on the management of electoral results.

The court upheld the rights of individuals, organisations and political parties to tally and announce results.

It behooves State functionaries and others to familiarise themselves with the Constitution and the court ruling before commenting on them.