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Can IEBC Chair Be Fair and Impartial?

iebc-scales-of-justice

In A Fair and Impartial IEBC Chair?, I make the case it’s possible but those charged with the responsibility to pick the next chair of this important body must do the utmost in screening and selecting only an incorruptible person who can ensure we once again have a fair and transparent election even half as good as we had in 2002, the only time it can be said we have not had an election riddled with rigging and all manner of corruption as to negate the will of the majority of the voters going to the polls as we have always had as the case going back to our country’s independence.

Excepts:

When President-elect Donald Trump was in the middle of his campaign, a political analyst in the US said Trump lied like a thug, daring anyone to challenge him, while Hillary Clinton was more nuanced in her lying, leaving room to explain away the lie, being the good lawyer she is.

Fast-forward to the 2007 and 2013 general elections and one cannot but conclude the Kivuitu who chaired the ECK in 2007 goes down in history as having presided over the most flagrant, in-your-face rigging of an election and, worse one who, like a thug, dared anyone to challenge him.

For his part, when Issack Hassan was selected to chair the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission in 2011, he presided over questionable elections in 2013, where the rigging may not have been as in your face as was the case in 2007 but, like the smooth lying by Clinton, giving herself plenty of room to wiggle away, Hassan, too, pulled off serious rigging with plenty of room to explain away much of the irregularities that took place.

The onus is on those charged with the responsibility of finding one to do so and with urgency for, surely, we don’t want the IEBC once again being led by those capable of smiling at us while bludgeoning our feeble democracy to death, if not creating forces that literally kill Kenyans.

 

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Posted by on December 2, 2016 in Law, Politics

 

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IEBC Is Incompetent and Ought To Be Disbanded

Isaak_Hassan2

In my Star column this weekend IEBC Is Incompetent and Ought To Be Disbanded I reiterate the obvious and start making the case why the obviously compromised and incompetent IEBC should be disbanded or at least have heads roll to start with.

Excerpt:

The fact is, the discredited  IEBC is exposed and will be  even more fully exposed  when it releases the much  awaited data for 2013  elections. We have also come  to know something  about this body which  is clearly a mirror image  of the previously equally  discredited ECK.

Yet they  chose to take our country the same path ECK did. We were saved only by the grace of God from reaching the depths of 2007. That something is not surprisingly when it comes to following the law and its mandates, IEBC basically thumbs its nose on us and asks the question popularised among the youth in social media, mta do?

Well, we can do something not the least of which is demanding that heads roll at this clearly discredited and incompetent body, starting with the chairman.

To be sure, there may be one or two good apples in that box but the rotten ones have made the whole box rotten. Either get rid of the rotten ones or altogether disband the whole thing.

We don’t need a national electoral commission other than a perfunctory one now that we have county governments. Rather what we need in light of these repeated failures to have a credible national elections body, are 47 electoral commissions each responsible for their own county elections.

At least with that kind of system, we can make it extremely difficult for the riggers to have a nationwide impact as they have had in each of the elections since elections started mattering in Kenya.

To leave IEBC in its discredited self would be akin to having your worst enemy preside over your fate. IEBC has shown it is the worst enemy of democracy.

The fact is, the discredited  IEBC is exposed and will be  even more fully exposed  when it releases the much  awaited data for 2013  elections. We have also come  to know something  about this body which  is clearly a mirror image  of the previously equally  discredited ECK.

Yet they  chose to take our country the same path ECK did. We were saved only by the grace of God from reaching the depths of 2007. That something is not surprisingly when it comes to following the law and its mandates, IEBC basically thumbs its nose on us and asks the question popularised among the youth in social media, mta do?

Well, we can do something not the least of which is demanding that heads roll at this clearly discredited and incompetent body, starting with the chairman.

To be sure, there may be one or two good apples in that box but the rotten ones have made the whole box rotten. Either get rid of the rotten ones or altogether disband the whole thing.

We don’t need a national electoral commission other than a perfunctory one now that we have county governments. Rather what we need in light of these repeated failures to have a credible national elections body, are 47 electoral commissions each responsible for their own county elections.

At least with that kind of system, we can make it extremely difficult for the riggers to have a nationwide impact as they have had in each of the elections since elections started mattering in Kenya.

To leave IEBC in its discredited self would be akin to having your worst enemy preside over your fate. IEBC has shown it is the worst enemy of democracy.

– See more at: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-127970/iebc-incompetent-and-ought-be-disbanded#sthash.17PRqtWK.dpuf

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2013 in Politics

 

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Kethi Kilonzo High Court Case Against IEBC

Kethi4

I am not privy to neither am I in any way involved in Kethi’s case but, based on my understanding of the facts in this case and knowledge, Kethi has the following points I am fairly certain she will prevail in some if not all of them in making her case before the High Court against the obviously compromised and incompetent IEBC:

  1. The issuance of Kethi’s clearance certificate by IEBC was final (the obviously compromised and incompetent body) had no jurisdiction to hear the complaint filed by TNA adba Jubilee Alliance. I put my apt and copyrighted description of this obviously compromised and incompetent body in quotes because it’s not necessary to use or put that language in pleadings or proceedings but fair game to point out the same by other means, as I am sure they will.
  2. The High Court should review the case de novo, meaning, trash the factual finding by the obviously compromised and incompetent IEBC as to whether Kethi is a registered voter and make its own factual findings.
  3. One of those factual findings should be Kethi is a registered voter, even if she fails to prove so on account IEBC has proven it’s compromised and incompetent enough to have had someone simply delete Kethi’s name from all of the many registers IEBC illegally maintains of registered voters.
  4. The argument that Kethi used an expired passport and copy of her ID to register should be first dismissed on the basis the obviously compromised and incompetent IEBC is estopped from making the argument (legally stopped from making the argument because they already accepted the identification docs, flawed as they may have been it’s too late and detrimental to Kethi to argue that now; had they rejected the items when she presented them, she would have had an opportunity to find other forms of acceptable ID; she obviously can’t do that now as registration is closed). Alternatively, the High Court can simply rule as it should that an expired passport is an acceptable form of identification under the Election Law. There is nothing in our Constitution or Election Law that says a passport must be valid in order to qualify as an identification document; in fact, an “identification document” for purposes of Election Law is defined as “a Kenyan national identification card or a Kenyan passport.” Note the absence of “valid” or “unexpired” before the word “passport” which would have to be present in order to make validity of a passport necessary or required to qualify as an identification document. I fully expect Kethi and her lawyers to make this argument and have no doubt the court will agree as it should and must if proper interpretation and application of law means anything. Either ruling will moot the issue.
  5. Whether she voted or where is irrelevant as to the question of whether she is a registered voter.

If the rule of law that started taking hold upon promulgation of the new constitution is still alive, we should expect the High Court to rule in favor of at least some or all of these points, especially #3, which should be sufficient to clear the way for Kethi’s candidacy and election as first elected woman senator representing the people of Makueni.

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2013 in Politics

 

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IEBC Has No Credibility To Conduct Fair, Open and Transparent Elections In Kenya

Isaak_Hassan

In my today’s column in the Star IEBC Has No Credibility To Conduct Fair, Open and Transparent Elections I pen the first of many columns highlighting what’s wrong with our electoral system and what should be done to fix it once for all. I do so knowing there are partisans who see no evil, hear no evil or say no evil about that which they know benefits them or is at least favorable to their wishes and interests, whether rightly or wrongly and therein lies our problem No. 1 but I am confident we can overcome it.

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2013 in Politics

 

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IEBC In Washington To Tell Lies About Elections

IEBC Bomas

The person who is supposed to head the oxymoronically named “Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission” (IEBC) is on a propaganda mission to Washington, DC where he’s expected to tell lies about the March elections in Kenya.

This person is the guest of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), an NGO that claims on its website it works to advance good governance and democratic rights globally.

That’s all well and good but, when this organization claims on its website and invite info for the IEBC event that Kenya’s elections were “widely regarded as credible” it goes to tell those with even a bare knowledge of what happened that they don’t know what they’re talking about or do and are on a mission to pacify the US and other countries that have grave reservations about the suffocation to near death of democracy in Kenya and other countries.

The organization goes on to say that “while the election was widely considered to be free and fair, there were a number of challenges that the IEBC encountered, including problems with the introduction of new election technology.”

This is the understatement of a century.

What happened in the 2013 elections much as it happened in 2007 were not not “challenges” and “computer malfunctions” in the case of 2013 but a deliberate, carefully planned and executed in your face rigging.

That’s a fact known by none other than Jubilee itself and its leaders starting from the top.

The organization says on its website that the “IEBC is now undertaking a thorough lessons learned process with the help of IFES, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other election stakeholders.”

Nonsense.

How does one undertake to learn lessons learned from things they planned and meticulously executed to perfection?

“As the IEBC begins this period of reflection on what went right, what went wrong and how this knowledge can strengthen the management of future elections,” says the organization, “please join us for an interactive discussion on this topic.”

We know what went wrong and if this organization wanted to know what went wrong, if they don’t know already, which is doubtful, the person to ask is not this one they have invited to represent the obviously compromised and incompetent IEBC.

Those who are in the Washington, DC area or can travel from nearby states should plan and attend this event if anything to tell the organizers and participants the truth besides asking questions they’re likely to receive nothing but lies for answers from those representing the aforementioned body representative from Keny

To attend, one must RSVP here

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2013 in Politics

 

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Kenyan Somali Elite Have Squandered Their Goodwill

IEBC-Boundaries_HassanIn Kenyan Somali Elite Have Squandered Their Goodwill published in the Star today, I point out this obvious development thanks to the likes of Isaac Hassan, namely that contrary to the bill of goods we were sold and not without some good faith and or justification by some of those who helped in the sale the now bogus notion that the Somali elite were different and could be trusted to manage our elections with neutrality and adherence to the constitution and law.

Hassan has no doubt proven proven Kenyan Somali elite are no different from those from other communities when it comes to incompetence, corruptibility and absence of neutrality, transparency and fairness in voting and ditto for everything else for that matter.

Excerpt:

Hassan in conducting an election that was a photocopy of the bungled 2007 elections has removed any lingering doubt that the Kenyan Somali community is different from any other when it comes to matters tribal.

The notion that picking someone from that community would bring neutrality and fairness in the electoral process was therefore, in hindsight, a sham. A very good one for that matter.

No sooner had Hassan been appointed than the wheels of injustice started rolling and along with that disappeared any chance that we could have credible elections.

The tell-tale signs were there and many, including this writer, warned that the IEBC was compromised but we were assured by none other than Raila himself that all was well and that IBEC will follow through with good elections.

It’s one assurance one can be sure Raila would like to take back.

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2013 in Politics

 

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IEBC Competency Questions Whose Answers Point To Widespread Rigging In The 2013 Poll

IEBC Bomas

It has been awhile since the media in general and the Daily Nation in particular provided any reporting that showed any of them were living up to their role as the people’s watch over government wrongdoing but I must admit the analysis below by the Daily Nation has surprised me in both its thoroughness and more importantly, it’s objectivity in at least exposing the incompetency of IEBC which when coupled with evidence to be supplied by Cord in its petition challenging the presidential tally will complete the picture and leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that IEBC was, indeed, compromised besides being incompetent and therefore the presidential results it announced are bogus and must be nullified.

And now the Daily Nation news analysis:

Questions are being raised about the management of Kenya’s just-concluded General Election by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission following the failure of the Sh8 billion results tallying system, which resulted in Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in the presidential vote and a planned court petition by his main rival, Raila Odinga.

As the far-reaching implications of the commission’s failure becomes clear, concern is mounting over the management of its information technology system, poor preparation of election officers in the run-up to the polls and whether, in its present form, it can be trusted to conduct future elections.

The IEBC has been running a media campaign asking Kenyans to trust them and accept the presidential results that they announced on March 9.

But today, the Saturday Nation says the IEBC must first answer some difficult questions for the things that went wrong.

We have interviewed experts and done some preliminary data analysis and, starting with the Biometric Voter Registration system, here are some critical questions for the IEBC.

1 Does the IEBC believe it met its assurances to Kenyans that it had put in place mechanisms for preventing people from voting twice?

The Biometric Voter Registration system together with the Electronic Results Transmission system used by the IEBC in 2013 were meant to eliminate the voting and tallying problems that led to the 2008 violence.

Biometric systems are electronic systems that identify people using unique biological characteristics — finger-prints, eyes or even DNA. Biometric systems provide almost 100 per cent proof of the identity. In Kenya, IEBC decided to use finger prints.

The immediate trigger for this decision was the conclusion of the Kriegler Commission regarding the 2007 elections. The commission noted as a “worrisome feature of the elections” the “incidence of abnormally and suspiciously high voter turnout figures reported from many constituencies in certain areas.”

As the Commission saw it, “high turnout in polling stations in areas dominated by one party is extremely suspicious and in the eyes of IREC is in itself a clear indication of likely fraud, most probably conducted through ballot stuffing, utilising local knowledge of who on the poorly kept voter register is absent, deceased or for another reason unlikely to appear to vote.”

Out of these recommendations, a decision to implement a biometric voter identification system was made, its intent being that no person should able to vote more than once, a reason for the improbably high voter turn outs in 2007.

But the process of acquiring and using the BVR kit was very badly handled. Trouble begun with procurement. Though the procurement began in February, 2011, with an “invitation for bids” little progress had been made by September 2012, more than one and half years later, and very close to the date for the general elections.

In the end, the acquisition of the BVR kit, which was eventually taken over by the government, cost Sh8 billion. But for the pressure of last minute purchase, the kit should have cost Sh3.2 billion.

The procurement was so shambolic some of the bidders challenged it before the Procurement Board, which concluded that the IEBC was in breach of procurement laws. It even failed to abide by the terms it had set. Indeed, the board said that if it were not for the public interest, it would have stopped the procurement.

The problems did not end with procurement. Once acquired, the BVR kit was never deployed as it should, no realistic testing was ever done, and even the two demonstrations that were done failed.

There was, therefore, no basis for assuming that the kit would work under high-pressure voting conditions, itself an argument for thinking of effective alternatives.

When fully functional, a BVR kit does three things. One, it provides a fool-proof register of voters. Two, it automatically subtracts from the main national register voters who have voted and thus provides a running tally of total votes cast. Three, it centrally integrates the register so that multiple voting becomes physically impossible. None of these features worked on voting day.

Let’s see what the failures of each of these elements meant for the 2013 elections.

First, while the BVR is supposed to be a check against multiple voting, the system did not have a subtractive value. This option subtracts the name of a person who has voted and updates the central server on the total votes cast.

If this option had been built into the software and consistently applied, it would have progressively updated the list of voters around the country, and at the close of the voting, it would have been possible to immediately ascertain the exact voter turnout.

A BVR system typically has a national data-base that is also backed up virtually. The data-base should be remotely accessible from the polling stations. In this case it was not.

Among the many unanswered puzzles is whether the 33,000 hand-held devices that IEBC had procured for biometric authentication were ever deployed. To guarantee security, IEBC would also have needed a virtual private network, very much like the one Safaricom had put in place for the transmission of results. That network had more than enough capacity to do both Biometric Voter Authentication as well as transmission of results.

Having failed to do these things, the IEBC resorted to completely downloading the segments of the voter-register to the laptops that were eventually sent to polling stations.

But this raises even more questions: what exactly did the IEBC download to the laptops? Given lack of a link to the central voter database, polling stations would not have been able to subtract those who had voted from the central database.

And merely crossing out the name of the voter from the physical register at the polling station guaranteed nothing if more copies of the same register existed. So in what ways did IEBC stop double voting?

Thirdly, the BVR system relied heavily on a steady supply of electricity for the laptops on which the system would be run. However, in many places, no attempt was made to provide backup power beyond the life of the one battery the computer started out on.

In some stations, batteries had died within one hour of the opening of the polling. A majority of polling stations had no electric power and rapidly abandoned the BVR system as the laptops had died due to lack of power.

In light of these BVR failures, does the IEBC believe it met its assurances to the country that it had put in place mechanisms for preventing people from voting twice?

2 Were the results from some polling stations cancelled, or were they aggregated into constituency totals, thus making over-voting became undetectable?

In 2007, the Electoral Commission had a primitive results transmission system that was open to manipulation and fraud. Some results were in fact called in by telephone to some desk in Nairobi. The Kriegler Comission recommended electronic transmission to remove opportunity for manipulation and post-voting fraud.

The system deployed by IEBC was put together with different components: a Virtual Private Network (VPN) developed by Safaricom for exclusive use by IEBC.

To support transmission, an overwhelming majority of the polling station were to use Safaricom SIM cards. The application installed in phones to run the transmission of results was proprietary software from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, IFES, whilst the servers would then be hosted or managed by IEBC.

To ensure security, the network would have end-to-end encryption. This means that even though the VPN was within the Safaricom public network, access was limited to only those with passwords and, even then, only for very limited purposes.

Once the voting took place, the presiding officer could log on and communicate directly with the IEBC server in Nairobi. This means that even if presiding officers were simultaneously logged onto the system, they could not communicate with each other.

The network offered no opportunity for conspiracy and, moreover, once the results were sent after confirmation by party agents at the polling station, they could not be re-called.

The servers were owned and controlled by IEBC and Safaricom’s responsibilities extended to the security of the VPN and to the reliability of the 17,900 phones that they supplied to the IEBC. There were still another 11,000 provided by the IEBC itself with the balance coming from Airtel.

Long before the servers supposedly crashed on Monday night, the problems of the Results Transmission System had become clear. Many of the mobile phones to be used to transmit were not configured in advance. And even when they were configured, they were not tested in advance.

Problems of system integrity directly fed into technical problems with the server. The server intended to receive the results data was not configured correctly and, if we believe the IEBC, eventually ran out of space.

So the question here is, were the servers all configured and tested in advance? Even more critical, was there redundancy in the system?

One of the most striking admissions was the statement by the IEBC that the large number of rejected voters initially announced arose from the fact that the system was multiplying rejected results by eight.

Once the system crashed, the IEBC then summoned the constituency level returning officers with the tabulated polling station totals in Form 36 to Nairobi. It was on the basis of these totals that final results were announced.

Can the IEBC then tell us how, without the source documents — Form 34 — it was able to verify the veracity of the results?

The question of turn-outs

As we have seen from other BVR systems in Africa, once the electronics fail, the lack of a manual fallback leads to all manner of problems.

So what happened in Kenya this time? Results at the polling station are supposed to be recorded on Forms 34 and 35. However, parties had expected that the polling station results would already have been transmitted to IEBC’s central servers, so one must wonder how attention was placed on scrutinising the tabulation at the constituency level.

These forms were eventually sent to the constituency level centres after system failure, and contents from them went into Form 36.

Form 36 aggregates data from polling stations into constituency level data. Once aggregated, it is very difficult to verify or disprove allegations that polling stations had reported more than 100 per cent voter turnout that should have led to cancellation of results.

How then does IEBC expect to help Kenyans who have questions to establish the accuracy of turn-outs? Can the IEBC confirm whether these results are correct?

Form 35 from Siana Boarding Primary School in Narok West reported that a total of 682 voters had cast ballots. However, the station has only 625 registered voters. In Starehe Constituency, there were three polling stations that had more voters casting their ballots than the registered voters.

Were the results from these polling stations cancelled, or were they aggregated into the constituency totals, thus making over-voting became undetectable?

3 Variations between presidential totals and parliamentary totals

Political parties have claimed that there are disparities between the parliamentary elections and the national voter turnout for the presidential election. No evidence has been offered to prove this, but if this is true can the IEBC confirm or deny whether such disparity exists?

Even though in presidential systems the votes for the president are often higher than those of other elected officials in the same election, in Kenya this should not be, principally because of the reforms arising from the crisis in 2007.

When Justice Kriegler reviewed the systemic failures that led to the crisis in 2008, he was told that the suspiciously high variations between presidential and parliamentary votes was evidence of  rigging.

Under the old voting system, ballots were handed out to voters one after the other, the voter getting the parliamentary ballot only after they had received and cast their presidential ballot. That arrangement allowed a voter to cast the presidential ballot and leave without voting for the parliamentary candidate.

The new voting system was a departure from previous practice where a voter would receive one ballot at a time for the three categories of elections that Kenya then run. The decision by the IEBC to hand out all six ballots at once fulfilled one of the recommendations of the Justice Kriegler Commission “that all three ballots be handed to the voter at the same time.”

This means that even though the voter is still free to cast a vote in the presidential election only, the other five ballots have already been issued.

All factors pointed to the fact that the difference between the six elections should have been minimal. Ballot reconciliation requires that IEBC accounts for all ballots: a ballot is either valid or rejected.

If Kenyans were voting mainly for the president, there should be almost two million unmarked, that is, spoilt ballots. Votes are either valid or spoilt, spoilt because wrongly marked or not marked at all. The Kenyan people deserve clarification about these anomalies.

4 Why was there a consistent gap between results for the top two candidates for some time?

Watching the IEBC results from Friday afternoon, it was soon obvious that there was a pattern both to the reporting as well as to the results themselves. Just how patterned these results were became evident when analysts plotted the IEBC results of the top two candidates on a graph.

One graph was generated by a Nairobi civil society group of Uhuru Kenyatta’s and Raila Odinga’s results from constituency number 234 at 2.46pm on Friday up to constituency 291 at 2.32am. The results were oddly, virtually parallel lines. Why is this strange?

Constituencies have unequal number of votes and they report randomly. Normally fluctuations would be expected in the gap between the candidates, not a patterned steady gap across results.

It could be that in effect the IEBC was processing and queuing the results in order to report them in a systematic way. But even that would not explain why results from widely differing constituencies should increase at an almost rigid interval.

How did this unusual curve emerge? Why did results of the two candidates increase by a consistent margin for a period of time?

5 Internal arithmetic inconsistencies

Using screen shots of IEBC results board at Bomas, the various numbers reported by IEBC have been tested to see whether they were internally consistent.

Let us explain. There were five critical numbers that were shown on the IEBC results board: the total votes cast; the number of rejected votes; the number of valid votes and the sum of individual candidates votes.

If the IEBC numbers are correct, we should be able to confirm them by reverse calculations as follows:

(a) If we subtract the rejected votes from total votes cast we should get the valid votes.

(b) Likewise the rejected votes plus valid votes should give us the total votes cast.

(c) And if we add rejected votes to the sum of votes cast for all candidates, we should also get total votes cast.

(d) Finally, if you remove the sum of individual candidates votes from the total votes cast, you should get the total rejected votes.

So analysts did that and promptly discovered that the results did not tally. Over time, the differences between reported numbers and calculated numbers ranged from two to 7,416. Was this just a case of poor number work? Why did the IEBC not use just a simple spreadsheet to confirm that their numbers did actually add up?

6 Why was the Voter Register never uploaded on the IEBC website?

One of the arguments for a Biometric Voter Register was that the manual register was too easily abused.

Kenya went into elections 2013 without an official register of voters. The Elections Act requires the IEBC to compile and maintain a register of voters. The Act also requires that not later than two months before holding of general elections, the registration of voters shall cease.

Voter registration ended in December and a provisional register of voters was published on December 18, 2012. On Januar17th January 2013, the IEBC gave the political parties soft copies of the provisional register to enable them conduct their primaries.

One week before the elections, IEBC published a notice in the local newspapers to the effect that a cleaned out version of the register was available on its website. However, an inspection of the site showed that the register had not been uploaded.

The country went into elections without the register ever being uploaded. Why was this the case?

This situation raises a number of other questions, among them: since there was no authoritative version of the register, what was used to conduct the elections? Was it one of the interim versions or the (unpublished) final register?

Daily Nation

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2013 in Politics

 

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