Kenya elections: System failure slows vote counting

Kenya’s election officials yesterday continued to count ballots from Monday’s presidential vote, with results expected to be announced tomorrow.
IEBC chief Issack Hassan. Net Photo.
IEBC chief Issack Hassan. Net Photo.

Kenya’s election officials yesterday continued to count ballots from Monday’s presidential vote, with results expected to be announced tomorrow.

The winning candidate is required to secure more than 50 percent of all votes cast, to avoid  a runoff election in April.

Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) yesterday admitted that it had registered electronic challenges leading to delayed announcement of the final 2013 election results.

IEBC chairman, Issack Hassan, announced at the National Tallying Centre that following the mishap, over 100 returning officers from different counties had been airlifted to the capital, Nairobi.

“We had inhouse challenges with managing electronic tarrying. There was a failure in the configuration of phones and training of our officers,” Hassan said.

Hassan said if tallying challenges continue, the law still permits the Electoral Commission to go up to Monday next week to  release all the official results.

“We don’t wish to go up to Monday. We should be able to make this arrive to a conclusion by Friday morning,” the IEBC Chief said.

The Electoral Commission chief appealed to Kenyans to allow the IEBC do its work, and assured them that the all the votes cast will be reflected in final results to be relayed at the National Tarrying Centre.

Meanwhile, the European Union has passed a vote of confidence in the elections, saying Kenyans had demonstrated a strong commitment to democracy.

The EU Election Observer Mission hailed IEBC for overcoming several challenges to conduct a peaceful and democratic exercise.

“I was pleased to see that Kenyan voters’ determination to exercise their democratic rights was strong enough to defeat even the longest queues,” the Mission’s chief observer, former Slovenia Prime Minister Alojz Peterle said in an email sent to The New Times yesterday.

“Kenyans stood up for peace and for their rights on Monday. Their commitment to exercising their rights sets a positive example not only to the region, but to the world,” he added.

The Mission however decried the participation of women in the elections, saying it was “disappointingly” low.

“The participation of women was disappointing with only one woman presidential candidate and seven candidates for the governor’s seat,” he noted.

He observed that the delays in announcing the presidential results had not eroded the confidence Kenyans have in the electoral commission and called for patience as the IEBC worked on the final tally.

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