Parallel Tabulation of Election Results – A Necessary Evil

The opposition’s National Super Alliance Party (NASA) recently floated the idea of having a parallel election results tallying center because “the 2013 election was rigged in favor of the ruling party” and “the Elections Laws Amendment Act of 2016 provided for announcement of results at three levels – the polling station, constituency and national.”

Mr. Raila Odinga made the announcement while addressing a political rally in Kibera this past Sunday, April 2.
Unsurprisingly, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chair Wafula Chebukati pushed back and called the decision “illegal” while adding that it’s the commission’s sole purview to “tally, collate, announce and declare the results of an election.”

NASA’s announcement is an interesting strategy that may also have unintended consequences including plunging the country into chaos; certainly into a constitutional crisis if the vote is close or perceptions abound that it is rigged. The latter concern takes on an urgency when viewed against the background of legislative machinations that begun in late 2016 and gave the Interior Department’s CS Joseph Nkaissery exclusive power to decide who has access to the national population register. The population register, for those who don’t know, determines the raw vote numbers ergo how elections are won/lost.

Additionally, Jubilee, from President Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto and the man in charge of internal security Mr. Nkaissery’s, have all ratcheted up the tough talk and saber-rattling as illustrated by the name-calling and warnings that they’ll “nyorosha” opponents, the loading up on law enforcement materiel including additional police and NYS personnel, anti-riot gear including personnel carriers – and this just includes the items that have been publicized!

The fact is, NASA’s concerns should not be summarily dismissed given the IEBC’s history of incompetent handling of past elections and if preparation for the upcoming 2017 August 8th elections is anything to go by, then I wouldn’t be comfortable sitting back and heeding spokesman Manoah Esipisu’s call to “support the body” nor his ridiculous claim that “anyone who casts doubts on the work of the IEBC cannot claim to be a champion of the new Constitution.
While wrought with danger, I fully support NASA’s constitutional right to ask for and ensure “the announcement of results at three levels – the polling station, constituency and national”. It is their prerogative and their role as the opposition – to hold the government’s feet to the proverbial fire. Along with that support is a call, make that plea to agitate for that constitutional right in a respectful and peaceful way.

Jubilee for its part should consider NASA’s move to have parallel tallying center/s, a warning shot across the bow. It puts the onus on them to ensure a free, fair and transparent elections. The question is:
Does Jubilee plan on honoring the spirit of the Constitution or does it intend to “win” the elections by any means necessary?

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