Accusations discrediting the electoral body by a number of disgruntled political parties increased.
- 7th March: By-Elections: The IEBC ran by-elections in Kericho and Malindi. The two electoral posts fell vacant after President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed Charles Keter and Dan Kazungu Cabinet Secretaries for Energy and Mining respectively. The two by elections were hotly contested and unsubstantiated claims of rigging were peddled.
KANU, the losing Party in Kericho by-election led by its Chairman Baringo Senator Gideon Moi claimed that a group of experts employed by the party to probe the by election outcome, revealed massive discrepancies occasioned by use of technology which manipulated the outcome. They said that the IEBC relayed results wired to its servers by Jubilee Party (JP) which had been manipulated to inflate the figures of the eventual winner Aaron Cheruiyot.
In a rejoinder, IEBC dismissed claims by KANU. According to the IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba, the Commission had not received any complaint of either electoral malpractice or misconduct, from the party, as required under the procedures of the Elections Act. Chiloba said the only concern raised by KANU on the night of the elections was that the results – which we understood to be provisional results – were coming in too fast. Chiloba said the Commission is in the process of compiling the report of the by-elections.
How will IEBC guard against such allegations in the coming elections?
- 15th March: Voter Registration – The February/March mass voter registration (MVR) missed the target by 70% as the commission managed to register slightly under 1 million out of the expected 4 million. To say that was a dismal performance is an understatement. Their reason for failing to meet the target was the usual excuse of insufficient funds. Meaning the Ksh. 500 million given to them was not enough to register all eligible voters.
- 28th March: Okoa Kenya Referendum – The opposition coalition –CORD-, push to change the Constitution collapsed in March when the electoral commission ruled that they had failed to get one million signatures necessary to force a referendum. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission declared that only 891,598 signatures out of the 1.6 million submitted by Cord, had been found to be authentic.
Apparently, the names rejected were those not found in the voters register. Some records had signatures but without ID or passport numbers while others had just names and no other entries. In total, the verifiers found that 741,979 of the 1,633,577 submitted had failed to meet the threshold authenticating only 891,598 of the signatures as valid.
Constitutional amendments can only happen through a referendum if it is supported by at least one million registered voters which the Okoa Kenya Initiative did not attain. A proposed constitutional amendment initiative can only be tabled before county assemblies if the IEBC has verified the signatures accompanying the proposed amendment and is satisfied that the amendment initiative is in accordance with the law.
The rejection of Okoa Kenya worsened the already grim relationship between the Opposition coalition and the electoral body. As a result, the Opposition has criminalized the institution among its supporters. Can the IEBC regain its credibility?