Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Kisumu gubernatorial election results were inaccurate, says IEBC

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has admitted that the results used to declare Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o the winner on the August 8, general elections were not accurate.

Four of the commission’s officials who took to the witness stand in the case in which former Governor Jack Ranguma is challenging Nyong’o win on Wednesday admitted to the discrepancies in the statutory forms presented before the court.

County Returning Officer John Cox, Nyakach Constituency Returning Officer George Jobando, his Kisumu East counterpart Yvonne Oketch and her deputy Maureen Otili all agreed that there were omissions which could have dented the accuracy and verifiability of the results.

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They however defended their mistakes, arguing that they could not have affected the final results as declared in the various polling levels.

Cox, during a cross examination by Ranguma lawyer Richard Onsongo, could not explain the various loopholes identified in the voting process, which included; inconsistencies in the results declared in Forms 37As, 37Bs and 37Cs, insecurity cases reported in various polling and tallying centres, and incomplete filling of the statutory forms.

For example in Kisumu East Constituency, five polling stations had no returns in the forms 37C, this even as Ms Otili insisted that she had presented all the fully completed forms 37As and 37Bs to the County Returning Officer.

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“I had no role in altering the results as I had received from the constituency tallying centre,” said Cox, even as he admitted that he never made such observations in the statutory forms.

Cox also distanced himself from any inconsistencies reported in the forms transmitted through the KIEMs system against the physical forms he used to declare the results, saying his mandate was purely limited to the physical forms.

“I only checked few samples of the forms transmitted electronically for the purpose of knowing, but not to cross-check with the physical forms because I was not subject to that,” said Cox.

Cox also admitted that there were no forms 32As, showing assistance to illiterate voters, nor any records of failures by the KIEMs even though some Ranguma witnesses had testified that some voters had been assisted.

Ms Otili could not explain why votes cast were more that the registered voters in a polling station at Mamboleo Market.

“The Form 37A indicates 530 as the registered number of voters, while valid votes cast are 530 and three are rejected. Can you account for the three?” posed Onsongo to Ms Otili.

“I cannot account for them,” answered Otili.

Ms Otili had taken up the roles of Ms Oketch who had fled the constituency tallying centre after she allegedly received threats.

“A security intelligence officer advised me that I needed to leave the place as it was not safe for me. This was after I was accosted by a person perceived to be a supporter of one of the area parliamentary candidates,” said Oketch.

Mr Onsongo however dwelt on the confession to convince the court that the election was not conducted in a safe environment as IEBC sat back as intruders interfered with the process to the point of having the commission official whisked away, which Mr Cox admitted was a lapse on their side.

Mr Jobando also contradicted Ms Otili’s assertions that each candidate or party was allowed one agent in each polling station.

In a number of polling stations in Nyakach, there were more than one ODM agents who appended their signatures on the Forms 37As, with Jobando saying such was no cause for alarm.

“Any agent in the polling station is under oath to observe the election process and is free to append their signatures. Also in cases where a candidate felt the party agent could not properly represent them in the polling stations, they were free to have their own agents,” explained Jobando.

The hearing of the case continues today.

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