Long wait for final tally as Chebukati takes time
The electoral agency may take longer than expected to determine the final tally of the repeat presidential election and declare President Uhuru Kenyatta winner.
On Friday, the commission began the tasking process of verifying all forms 34A and 34Bs at the National Tallying Centre at Bomas of Kenya in line with the Constitution and as affirmed by the Supreme Court on September 1.
By 1:30pm, only 15 constituencies — Mathare, Nambale, Mwala, Mwingi West, Ndaragwa, Dagoretti South, Kajiado South, Embakasi North, Kajiado Central, Roysambu, Turbo, Ndia, Bomet East, Kandara and Kathiani — had released their final results. And by 4:30pm, only six of these — Nambale, Ndaragwa, Mwingi West, Mathare, Dagoretti South and Embakasi North — had been verified. President Uhuru Kenyatta led in all the constituencies with huge margins.
Voting in four counties had not taken place and the election scheduled for today was indefinitely postponed owing to extreme acts of violence against commission officials and voters.
“So far, we’ve received, electronically, 37,045 Forms 34A and the verification exercise will take time. The commission will be announcing verified results per constituency,” IEBC Chair Wafula Chebukati said.
It was a long wait at Bomas as the verification went underway. Chebukati, the National Returning Officer, did not verify a single result himself. His officers, spread in seven desks at the base of auditorium, did.
The verification entailed two clerks seated opposite each other going through the respective results one by one as agents watched in approval.
In tense moments that saw the commission unable to release a single results almost 24 hours after closure of vote, Chebukati popped in and out of the auditorium from the adjacent temporary commission offices without saying or answering much.
While he consorted with teams of consultants in the backroom offices, giving fellow commissioners a wide berth, his juniors combed through the thousands of Forms 34As checking the electronic against the scanned results.
It was a painstaking process for both agents and the officials. At some point, the commission clerks and party agents had to be supplied with rulers to ease visibility of scores across the lines. After verification, another ceremony lasting five minutes for each constituency took place at the main podium where the returning officer for the constituency went up before the chair, presented his forms, signed them in their presence and the chairman proceeded to announce them.
By 5pm, 38 constituencies had sent out results, further multiplying the work for the lean verification team at Bomas.
“We have seven verification desks and all agents are being supplied with folders for each constituency to enable them follow through,” Chebukati said.
At the main podium, Chebukati cut a lonely figure devoid of two pillars — Commission CEO Ezra Chiloba who is away on leaven and Commissioner Roselyn Akombe — who has since resigned.
The pair provided him invaluable succor over the tallying process of the August 8 election — braving journalist’s queries and keeping the information gap most thin throughout the process.
Yesterday, only commissioner Boya Molu flanked him as he read the first results from Nambale constituency. In the other briefings, he often appeared alone, unsteady and burdened. For the better part of the day, he kept postponing a question-and-answer engagement with journalists until it became apparent that he was dodging the session.
Also missing at the auditorium were the NASA agents. In contrast, Jubilee presidential agents — Winnie Guchu and Davis Chirchir — held their positions at one corner of the auditorium holding brief for their candidate.
While their eyes were stuck on their laptops, their other agents — led by lawyer Faith Waigwa — spread themselves across the seven desks overseeing the process.
Unlike in the past, the phenomenon of provisional results streaming from the huge screens mounted inside the auditorium were missing. One of the two screens mounted inside the auditorium bore the IEBC logo while the other beamed the happenings at the main podium.