Claims of vote-rigging swirled around the Kericho senatorial by-election a day after the declaration of Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP) candidate as the winner with a landslide victory.
Kenya African National Union (Kanu), which has contested the conduct of the polls, announced yesterday it would not challenge in court the election of JAP’s senator-elect Aaron Cheruiyot, who polled 109,359 votes against its candidate, Paul Sang’s 56,307 votes.
Instead, Kanu will take its case to the “court of public opinion” by publishing its reconciled results in the local dailies by tomorrow to demonstrate the discrepancies in outcome announced by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
“We are going to publish our results for Kenyans to judge. The results were still coming as late as early morning yesterday,” said party Secretary General Nick Salat, in effect implying that IEBC gave the tally while counting was still going on in some polling stations.
The independence party also questioned the credibility of IEBC and called for its overhaul ahead of next year’s General Election. However, IEBC Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba dismissed the allegations.
Salat explained that even though they had reservations about the poll outcome, the legal process might take long with the next elections due in August, next year. “IEBC really goofed in Kericho. The commission’s systems for transmitting election results at the county tallying centre appeared to be faster than the actual results relayed at the sub-county tallying centres,” Salat claimed.
Earlier, leaders who campaigned for the Kanu candidate including Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto alleged doctoring of provisional results filed through the electronic results transmission system and demanded the reconstitution of IEBC. “Agents were chased away, police and public administrators were used, and even now we are still waiting to see how IEBC will demonstrate the votes announced were cast and where,” added Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto.
Governor Ruto, MPs Oscar Sudi (Kapseret) and Johanna Ngeno (Emurua- Dikir), as well as Salat and former Kipkelion MP Magerer Langat termed the poll flawed and accused the electoral body of failing to maintain the integrity of the elections. Ruto said the Issack Hassan-led commission conducted a sham by-election, alleging that the failure of the results transmission machines at the tallying centre after tallying of votes from 119 polling stations was a ploy to enable relaying of “pre-set results”.
Salat claimed results filled out in Forms 32 from the polling stations do not tally with those aggregated on Form 35 at the county tallying centre. Salat explained: “For instance, our candidate Paul Sang had 64,000 votes from his constituency. Does it mean that the remaining five constituencies only gave him 3,500 votes each?” he asked, adding, “It is a sham. Since he got over 55,000 votes, it is not true and transparent results.”
The governor claimed that the results had been pre-set and streamed to the media to hoodwink the residents to accept the results. But Chiloba said IEBC did not receive any complaints about agents being turned away. He said all the results per polling station would be available on the commission’s website for anyone to analyse.