Issack Hassan:Kenyans have ‘resentment and anger’ over election results
Technological and other “challenges” experienced in the recent elections have taught the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) lessons it will apply in future polls, the IEBC chairman told a Washington audience on Wednesday.
Mr. Issack Hassan acknowledged that the commission took too ambitious an approach in managing the voting in March.
He cited widespread breakdowns of electronic voter identification devices and malfunctioning of the computer system for reporting results.
“We needed more consultation and testing on a smaller scale” before trying to implement these new technologies, Mr Hassan added.
The IEBC also “had built huge expectations that this is going to work,” he noted.
“People equated the technology with free and fair elections,” Mr Hassan observed, adding, “We need to better manage expectations.”
He further acknowledged that some Kenyans “still have resentment and anger” over the results of the election, with many of them blaming the IEBC for what they view as an unfair outcome.
“We have been caricatured, called thieves, called corrupt people,” he said. “It comes with the territory.”
Mr Hassan added with a smile that the chairmanship of the IEBC has been described as a “lonely and thankless” position.
But he also strongly defended the conduct of the voting.
“All reports say the elections were largely credible,” Mr Hassan noted. “There was no theft of the election.”
In response to a question, he rejected the findings of an Election Day exit poll conducted by two US political scientists that showed Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga both receiving about 40 percent of the vote.
“That exit poll was very surprising to us because it went against every other poll in the country,” Mr Hassan said. He pointed out that the results of the parliamentary vote were consistent with the reported results of the presidential vote.
Prof Joel Barkan, a US specialist in Kenyan politics, noted during the forum held at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems that the election cost $100 million. And vote tallies are still not posted on the IEBC website three months after polling day, Prof Barkan added.
Mr Hassan said in response that the actual cost of the election was Sh6.8 billion, which is about $80 million at today’s exchange rate. He also promised that the full election results would be posted online soon.-nation.co.ke