ODM has petitioned the electoral commission to open an internal probe into vote-rigging claims, raising the stakes in the Kibra by-election that has escalated the supremacy battle between Deputy President William Ruto and Opposition leader Raila Odinga.
The high stakes in the by-election have also been fuelled by the battle to control Nairobi politics, which traditionally has been in the grip of the Opposition, but is gradually getting out after it lost Lang’ata and Kasarani constituencies.
Orange party yesterday linked two senior ICT officials at the electoral agency to an alleged plot to rig the poll by doctoring the electronic voter register in favour of the ruling Jubilee Party.
The party officials claimed the two officials were working closely with a Jubilee politician to rig in former Kenyan international McDonald Mariga, largely perceived to be a Ruto project.
Orange party chairman John Mbadi yesterday admitted that the stakes were high in the poll after Ruto vowed to capture the seat from Raila’s party. He said they cannot take information about plans to influence the outcome lightly.
“The stakes are high, and you have heard some people say they will do whatever it takes to capture the seat. We are also getting a lot of information about plans to manipulate the outcome. This has not been the case in other by-elections,” said Mbadi.
He made the remarks in reference to a statement by Ruto against Raila for claiming Kibra was his (Raila) political bedroom while vowing to have Jubilee capture the seat.
“I was shocked when an individual claimed Kibra was their political bedroom yet the region did not even have toilets and locals were grappling with dire sanitation challenges. It is the Jubilee government that built roads and public toilets in Kibra,” Ruto said in Sabatia last week.
The fears and high stakes were confirmed when ODM lodged official complaints with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission over an alleged plot to doctor the voter register.
The officials led by Mbadi and Secretary General Edwin Sifuna shared details of the claims with the commission bosses in a closed-door meeting that lasted for close to two hours.
Information corroborated by multiple sources within the meeting indicate that the Raila-led party also alleged there was a scheme by the officials to manipulate the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (Kiems) to lock out a section of the voters from casting their ballot.
In the scheme, the outfit claimed there is a plot to delete names starting with A and O from the roll to lock out ODM supporters from casting their votes.
They claimed the scheme also entailed a plot to interfere with electronic result transmission.
In a joint briefing after the meeting, Chebukati announced the commission would probe the claims linking his officers to the alleged electoral fraud.
Chebukati said they agreed that ODM writes a formal complaint about the alleged scheme for the commission to open up an investigation about the matter.
He further announced that results from the polling stations would be transmitted manually in response to claims that there was another plot to manipulate figures during transmission of results.
The commission said it was only the presidential election that was required by law to be transmitted electronically.