Why many NASA supporters are planning to boycott October 17th fresh election

Apathy in NASA strongholds is one reason Raila has not become President, at least after 2007, 2013 and now 2017 elections. It is true elections have been rigged in those years, but that’s because he didn’t command a landslide win that no amount of rigging could bridge – a win akin to Kibaki’s tsunami trounce of Uhuru Kenyatta in 2002. Good news for Raila is that in 2017 he has managed to secure himself a second chance, but this chance may be ruined by several NASA supporters who are now expressing their unwillingness to participate in the October 17th fresh election.

The NASA supporters who do not want to vote in October 17th are supporters who believe that the fresh election has already been rigged in favor of Uhuru Kenyatta. This they say in the wake of Chiloba’s strong come back to head the fresh election programmes, with information reaching NASA supporters claiming that not only will Chiloba head the fresh election programme, but will do so through personnel that he himself has put in place.

That’s not all. NASA supporters are also disappointed by the news that Al Ghurair, the printing firm that printed election materials for August 8th General Election, has been contracted to print ballot papers and other statutory documents for the fresh presidential election.

“IEBC has contracted Al Ghurair to print 22,098,347 (about 2.6 million more than the number of registered voters) Presidential ballot papers for the Fresh presidential election set for 17-10-2017. In an agreement reached at the IEBC retreat, IEBC also decided in the interest of time, to retain the same company that was in charge of their IT infrastructure in the Just concluded elections whose results was invalidated by the SCOK.

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“It was reported that IEBC CEO, Mr. Chiloba argued that in the time left, it will be impossible to find any other company familiar with the IEBC systems to offer IT support and services. The commission also accepted the preliminary list of POs and ROs that were selected by its CEO who will manage the upcoming elections arguing that it didn’t have sufficient time to higher and train new personnel. 75% of those in Chiloba’s list are those who participated in the Just concluded elections”, wrote Anwar Saddat, one of the top NASA Facebook bloggers, over at Facebook.

The NASA Supporters who feel that the October 17th won’t be free and fair have reasons to fear that their votes won’t count, but I would advise them not to entertain such feelings. As I wrote in the introduction, it is voter apathy that has denied Raila outright win in the previous elections, and it is voter apathy that will deny him a win in the second round of 2017 Presidential Elections.

The facts that Chiloba is fully in charge of IEBC Secretariat, that Al Ghurair will handle the printing of ballot papers, and that at least 75% of those who will conduct the election are people directly recommended by Chiloba, doesn’t by themselves imply an already rigged election.

Rigging of election at the polling stations can easily be stopped by ensuring presence of vigilant party/candidate agents at every single polling station, that the agents verify that data is accurately entered on statutory forms, and that those forms are accurate.

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After data has been accurately entered in the documents, the agents should be tried to counter check that the data they signed against are the same data sent and reflected in public portals (IEBC servers and websites). Any discrepancies must be raised with the coalition immediately and if necessary a police report is filed.

By the way, was NASA present in every constituency tallying centre on August 8th and 9th when the constituency returning officers were announcing and tallying constituency results? If so, why didn’t they publish on social media the results per constituency as they were being announced? We know the media was asked not to announce the constituency results, but NASA wasn’t blocked. This time round, NASA must be at every polling station and at every constituency tallying centre ready to relay constituency results immediately they are announced. If they are constituency results they dispute, they must indicate as such when those results are being announced. I see no reason why NASA should sit back in Nairobi and monitor the results at National Tallying Centre when final results are being announced at the 290 constituencies.

It is important for NASA to remember that if results are not tallied and announced to constituency tallying centres, then the entire election become invalid, null and void.

Odipo Riaga
Managing Editor at KachTech Media
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