Chebukati says repeat presidential poll was free, fair and credible
The electoral commission has declared that Jubilee’s Uhuru Kenyatta has been re-elected as President, garnering 98 per cent of the valid votes cast in the fresh election held last week and which was boycotted by his main challenger, Nasa’s Raila Odinga.
The declaration was made by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati without results from 25 constituencies in Nyanza that failed to vote on Thursday due to disruptions of polling.
Mr Chebukati said that the conditions that had been set for the repeat poll were met and that the fresh election credible, free and fair.
He described as the “most difficult and legally unchartered waters” the fact that Kenya, first in Africa and the Commonwealth, and only the fourth in the world, had its presidential election annulled and a repeat poll done.
“I am satisfied that we were able to meet these conditions (I had set) to deliver what to us, and I believe, [to] observers, was a free, fair and credible election,” said Mr Chebukati.
Speaking earlier in the day, IEBC Vice-Chairperson Consolata Nkatha said that voting in areas that did not hold elections will not affect the final result.
She said that a verification process had been completed in 266 constituencies where elections were held and that the commission, in accordance with Section 55(B)(3) of the Elections Act, directed that a return to the election be made, thus paving way for a president-elect to be declared.
Last Thursday’s fresh election was ordered by the Supreme Court in a landmark ruling on September 1 that annulled President Kenyatta’s August 8 win over illegalities and irregularities committed by the IEBC.
Mr Odinga boycotted the fresh poll, demanding, among other things, the sacking of senior electoral officials and change of both the ballot paper printer and the poll’s technology provider.
However, it became impossible to hold elections in 25 constituencies in Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay and Migori, where Mr Odinga enjoys massive support.
In most of these constituencies, hooligans prevented polling from taking place, welding and riveting shut gates in some places and in others engaging in violence to the extent that the IEBC could not secure its officials.
Mr Chebukati said on Friday that election officials were intimidated, kidnapped or tortured and said that where the commission’s staff was under threat, it was concerned.
However, election took place in 265 of Kenya’s 290 constituencies as well as the diaspora with Kenyans in East and South Africa casting their ballot.
Of those 266 reporting constituencies, President Kenyatta had 7,483, 895 votes, just 719,395 shy of the 8,203, 290 he had in the annulled poll.
And with 7,616, 21 valid votes in the 266 constituencies that voted, the voter turnout was 42.36 per cent, while taken against the 19, 611, 423 total voters in Kenya, the Thursday fresh poll’s turnout drops to 38.84 per cent.
The August 8 election had a 79.17 per cent voter turnout, a drop from the 86 per cent in the 2013 election won by President Kenyatta with Mr Odinga coming in a close second, and losing a subsequent Supreme Court petition.