Independent observer groups in the just ended Kenya elections have endorsed the outcome as pronounced by the country’s election governing body, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). The chairperson of the Commission Mr Wafula Chebukati declared William Ruto as the president-elect after garnering 7,176,141 votes representing 50.49% of the tallied against long-time opposition leader Raila Odinga who came up second with 6,942,930 votes representing 48% of the total votes tallied.
The tightly contested election which pitted incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta’s preferred successor, Mr Raila Amolo Odinga of the Azimio la Umoja and Dr William Semoei Ruto of Kenya Kwanza Alliance was generally regarded as peaceful and exemplary for other African countries in the region. Two days before the official results were announced, the Commonwealth observer mission commended the transparency and the tranquility that prevailed in the build-up and during the course of the ballot casting.
Following up on the announcement of Dr William Ruto as the countries President-elect by IEBC, a number of civil society groups, faith-based organisations and non-profit organisations backed the outcome citing the electoral process as valid. One of such independent groups that found ‘no fault’ with the electoral process in the country is the highly revered Elections Observation Group (ELOG). The non-partisan organisation said they had dispatched over 5,000 observers across 20 constituencies in 47 counties in the whole of Kenya.
"ELOG notes that the results transmission system worked much better than expected with over 99% of scan images of the 34a and the 34b posted on the IEBC web portal. However, we are extremely concerned about the chaos that broke out at the national tallying center at Bomas as well as the split within the IEBC leading to some commissioners quitting the tallying process and issuing their own statements prior to the announcement of the presidential results," said Anne Ireri, ELOG Chairperson.
The group noted that their findings had a margin of error because they relied on scientific statistics. While announcing the results of their parallel tallying, the group projected Ruto to garner 50.7% of the total tallied votes with a margin error of +/-2.1%. In the official results, the DP had 50.49%. On the other hand, ELOG projected Raila to get 48.7% of the votes tallied with a margin of error of +/-2.1%. Official results showed the ODM leader had 48.58%. The group concluded that the electoral agency's figures fall in between their projected figures noting that Kenya had made tremendous strides towards credible elections.
ELOG further reiterated that it is up to the Supreme Court of Kenya to validate the declaration made by the chairperson of the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission Wafula Chebukati.
Despite this positive commentary by the independent observer organisation, four of the seven electoral commissioners of Kenya's presidential election told journalists on Monday that they could not support the "opaque nature" of the final phase of the vote-verification process.
They spoke just before the declaration of Deputy President William Ruto as the winner of the election over five-time contender Raila Odinga.
"We are here not at Bomas of Kenya, where the result is going to be announced, because of the opaque nature of how this phase has been handled," the vice chair Juliana Cherera said.
"We cannot take ownership of the result that is going to be announced," she added, without giving details.