Someone is making a mountain out of a molehill. There is no need to be afraid of third party records that could help verify claims of mischief before declaring official presidential election results.
There is nothing wrong with a ‘parallel tallying centre’, unless someone thinks Kenyans are people of low intelligence, who are prone to forgetfulness.
During the 2013 general election, Jubilee had a ‘parallel tallying centre’ at the Catholic University of East Africa, to ‘monitor presidential election results’. The 2013 Jubilee ‘Situation Room’ is near the Bomas of Kenya, which was the national tallying centre. Bomas was security ringed days before the vote tallying. The heavy security deployment around Bomas was as ominous as it was around the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in 2007.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission started by declaring an opposition vote tallying centre ‘illegal’, until it dawned you cannot fool all the people all the time.
The National Super Alliance cannot declare election winners and losers. But it can record presidential election results from polling stations and constituencies, where the announced figures are final.
During the 2007 general election, the Nation Media Group, the Standard Group Ltd, and Royal Media Services set up parallel tallying centres. But the media houses, as usual, chickened out of verification when the stakes became too high.
The media houses had authentic information which they did not want to share with the public to break the ice on the controversial presidential election results. Then Internal Security minister John Michuki engineered a national power blackout to affirm the bliss of ignorance. The blackout came with a ban on live coverage of the election results.
There is nothing to stop a congregant from taking notes as a sermon proceeds. When memory fades, the notes are points of reference. The parallel activity takes away nothing from the bishop.
During a fundraising, stakeholders take note of cash, cheque, and materials donations. But the Master of Ceremony, or the guest of honour, retains the authority to announce the total collections.
There is no foul-play when figures tally. There is no reason to fear when there is no conspiracy to disenfranchise the electorate.
But when the IEBC and agents of officialdom condemn good intentions, they fall short of admitting a potential source of mischief has been exposed. Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery is not convinced about a tallying centre, but he shall understand the times have changed.
Was there then a conspiracy between the electoral agency and Jubilee to tamper with facts?
The 2007 controversial presidential election results are a case of messed up vote tallying. Retired South African judge Johann Kriegler, who chaired an inquisition into the conduct of the election, came up with a verdict: It was impossible to tell who had won the presidential election.
The ODM presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s vote tally and PNU candidate Mwai Kibaki’s were messed up to kill evidence of rigging. Worse, media houses could not produce their ‘facts’ to help resolve the stalemate. Public watchdogs had been embedded in the conspiracy.
Last year, Royal Media Services chairman SK Macharia made a confession that hinted at the conspiracy to mess up the presidential vote. Kikuyu elders would later warn Macharia he stood cursed if he exposed the historical injustice.
Kenyans should not hide the truth to protect the peace. Peace only makes sense with justice.
The Constitution expects the electoral process to be simple, measurable and verifiable. You verify facts when claims and figures tally. Journalists do this to give ‘credibility’ to news reports.
Majority leader Aden Duale, Deputy President William Ruto, and those who think like them have no reason to worry about the opposition ‘tallying votes’. The IEBC is the umpire, but interested parties can also record ballots cast. Verification does not deny the IEBC the constitutional responsibility to declare the results of an election.