By JEREMIAH WAKAYA, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 13 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has gazetted 290 Constituency Returning Officers and their deputies to oversee the conduct of the fresh presidential election set for October 26.
In a gazette notice on Thursday, the commission also published procedures for transmission of election results from the polling station to the Constituency Tallying Centres and the National Tallying Centre.
Also gazetted is the complementary mechanism of electronic transmission of results which now allows the Presiding Officers in polling stations outside 4G or 3G internet connectivity to move to “the nearest point from the polling stations that has a network and transmit the results accordingly”.
In the event the Presiding Officer is unable to establish internet connectivity, the guidelines provide that the affected poll official moves to Constituency Tallying Centre from where they will be able to transmit their electronic results.
In the gazette notice, IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati directed all the 40,883 Presiding Officers to report malfunction or failure of the Kenya Integrated Election Management Systems (KIEMS) kits to their respective Constituency Returning Officers for appropriate action.
Incidences where KIEMS kits cannot be repaired or replaced, Chebukati said should be captured on the polling station diary to be signed by all agents.
Consequently, IEBC shall publicize through electronic or print media with national circulation, failures in results transmission from any of the 40,883 polling stations.
Currently, there are about 11,000 polling stations without 4G OR 3G internet connectivity.
While speaking to the press during the training of the gazetted officials in line with a revised curriculum last week, Chebukati said he was confident that the commission would deliver a credible poll.
“After the training of Returning Officers we shall proceed to train support electoral staff at the constituency who will proceed to train the Presiding Officers and clerks,” he said.
“Our training focuses on statutory forms, their stamping, signatures as well as standardization of all results declaration forms,” he added.
In the gazette notice on Thursday, IEBC laid down a comprehensive procedure that will guide the tallying of results in both the Constituency Tallying Centres and the National Tallying Centre in a manner that ensures strict compliance with the Constitution and election statutes.
At the Polling Station level, Presiding Officer will be required upon counting of votes to fill in the Form 34A and have presidential candidates’ agents append their signatures before he/she appends his/her signature.
The Form 34A will then be stamped by the Presiding Officer before keying into the KIEMS device, the votes garnered by each presidential candidate and scanning of the form for transmission.
The original statutory form will also be physically delivered to the respective the Constituency Tallying Centre.
The same procedure will be followed at the Constituency Tallying Centre where the Returning Officers shall announce results captured in Forms 34A from the various polling stations within the constituency before collating the same and recording the aggregate on Form 34B.
Once the Form 34B is signed by agents, it will be transmitted to the National Tallying Centre.
All the 290 Constituency Returning Officers shall also be required to physically deliver their Form 34Bs as well as Form 34As supporting the constituency tally.
Finally, National Returning Officer who doubles up as the Chairperson of IEBC will verify electronically collated results with the statutory forms and thereafter generate Form 34C.
The winner of the presidential election shall be announced once the Chairperson verifies results captured in Forms 34A and 34B.
Already the commission has announced its plan to gazette all the eight candidates who contested in the August 8 presidential election annulled by the Supreme Court on September 1.
The decision followed a High Court ruling on Wednesday in which IEBC was ordered to include Thirdway Alliance presidential candidate Ekuru Aukot who successfully challenged his exclusion from the repeat election ordered by the Supreme Court under Article 140 (3) of the Constitution.
Initially, IEBC only gazetted President Uhuru Kenyatta (Jubilee Party) and Raila Odinga (National Super Alliance) as the only candidates for the repeat poll.
Odinga, however, announced his withdrawal from the election on Tuesday but the electoral commission has said the action is not recognized in law unless the Opposition chief signs a Form 24A, officially quitting the State House race.