Aynsley Genga is JURIST’s staff correspondent in Kenya. She reports from Nairobi.
It has been five days since we in Kenya had our elections on August 9th. Five days, and we still don’t know who our president is. As the wait gets longer, the pressure also increases. Kenya is currently in uncertainty. Of course, there are those who have returned to work, but everyone thinks only of the election results. Most areas aren’t as crowded as they normally are, even the school term reopening dates have been pushed back to a later date because as things stand no one really knows when those results will be announced. .
“Kenya is just one big ball of tension right now, if I have to be completely honest. We all thought the election results for all positions would be announced last Friday, but with the recent rigging attempts, no one is sure anymore. Saturday, IEBC [the Independent Election and Boundaries Commission charged with counting the votes] announced that they had discovered that Vice President William Ruto had won an additional 10,000 votes in Kiambu constituency while Raila Odinga had been deducted 100 votes. The attempts at rigging don’t stop there. That same Saturday, it was learned that Gladys Shollei, the chief clerk of the judiciary and women’s representative currently elected under the UDA flag, had been caught in possession of a laptop computer as well as mysterious documents that people suspected of being rigged. presidential election forms. She was spotted by agents of the Azimio party who raised the alarm and caused a stir upon her discovery. Videos of her carrying the documents and interacting with an IEBC official have gone viral on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp. Due to recent rigging scandals that have come to light, particularly those in the Mount Kenya region, Jubilee party leaders gathered on Saturday to announce that they would challenge the election results and prove to Kenyans that there is no there is no UDA wave in the Mount Kenya region.
Gladys Boss Shollei has been kicked out of Bomas National Counting Center after she was caught smuggling mysterious documents and a laptop into the main auditorium. pic.twitter.com/xjilM1ykXu
— Vote Blue (@VoteBlueKe) August 12, 2022
Saturday was rich in drama. Activists have come forward to challenge Ruto’s presidential eligibility. This stems from the fact that his running mate, Mr. Gachagua, still has a bribery case pending in court. Moreover, just recently the High Court issued a judgment which allowed the government to seize 202 million Kenyan shillings from Mr Gachagua which they claim is dirty money. Activists therefore argue that if Ruto is indeed sworn in as President, he will breach the provisions of Chapter Six of the Constitution of Kenya (CoK) on Leadership and Integrity. The Supreme Court of Kenya is to hear and decide the case. Later in the day, there was also the incident of Esther Passaris, the elected women’s representative from Nairobi, rudely dragging an IEBC official out of The Bomas of Kenya, the tally center building. elections. The official was suspected of helping Kenya Kwanza leaders rig the election. The official was taken away by the police and calm was restored.
Earlier on Friday, IEBC President Chebukati announced that the returning officer for Embakasi East was missing. According to the IEBC president, the officer disappeared around 9:45 a.m. Thursday. The officer was at the East African School of Aviation at the time of his disappearance. A commotion erupted when the officer, Daniel Musyoka, was not there to present the certificates to the winners of the Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) and Members of Parliament (MPs) race. The certificates were handed over by another official. The IEBC and his family tried to reach him but without success. Chebukati said a missing person report has already been filed at Embakasi police station. The incident has caused panic among Kenyans, especially as there is fear whether the man is alive or not. Many hope that he will soon be found.
Due to the Gladys Shollei scandal, as well as the many other rigging attempts that have taken place in the Bomas of Kenya, security has been tightened and only those involved in the voter verification process, such as agents, will be allowed inside Bomas of Kenya. . The directive was issued on Saturday evening by the IEBC commissioner Abdi Guulie. “We have made changes to access the Bomas scoring center. We will only allow officers, people who will assist them, senior officers, deputy senior officers, clerks, observers and media that you can cover as you please,” he said. he declares.
— Nation Africa (@NationAfrica) August 14, 2022
Honestly speaking, just when you think the pressure can’t get any worse, on Saturday night we heard rumors that the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) had been spotted in Bomas of Kenya due to attempted rigging . People then wonder if the rumor is true or not, especially since it does not seem like an incredible story when looking at the recent events that have taken place in the Bomas of Kenya.
As things stand, a new week has already begun and most of us were hoping that today, Sunday, would be better and the countdown would continue serenely. But our hopes were once again dashed when the presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s senior agent Saitabao Ole Kanchory claimed ‘Bomas is a crime scene’ on live TV. A commotion could be seen in the background as the police tried to calm down. It came just hours after Agano party presidential candidate David Mwaure said he had conceded defeat. Kenyans are therefore once again experiencing a tense start to the week. The agent’s video has already gone viral on Twitter.
Chaotic scenes at the Bomas of Kenya as Raila Odinga’s Chief Agent Saitabao Ole Kanchory alleges ‘Bomas is a scene of crime’#KenyaDecides2022 #KenyasChoice2022 #KenyaElections2022 pic.twitter.com/obye37z9mo
— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) August 13, 2022
With all these events happening, Kenyans are wondering what will happen if the IEBC fails to meet the one-week tally deadline required by law. They have until August 15, Monday. This question has arisen on social media since the Constitution of Kenya does not contain any provision covering this issue. The Kenyans therefore offered three competing solutions. Some say the IEBC should just ask the court for more time, others say we will just go without a new president until a solution is found, while there are still others saying that the country will only have to make a new election. All of this needs to be added and further discussed in the constitution.
Kenyans were frustrated due to the wait and drama involved and many even took to Twitter to demand the arrest of Gladys Shollei and all others implicated in any rigging allegations. Many have said that these people should be sent to prison to serve as examples for anyone who wants to destroy the peace we have. There are also those who wonder why presidential candidate Ruto has not yet been disqualified from the race despite all the scandals surrounding his party.
Through all the drama that has happened so far, one thing that Kenyans are happy about is the availability of all election results forms on the IEBC portal. This has helped ensure the transparency and accountability of the IEBC. Kenyans can even count for themselves if the pressure gets too much. Also, with media stations banned from showing different presidential results, many Kenyans hope this will be a good learning lesson and help motivate them to have a better counting system next time.
Kenyans are now hoping that the results will be announced before the counting deadline expires. After all, we have to get on with our lives and another election will just be a waste of resources. The majority of Kenyans continue to pray that whoever wins there will be peace.