Kimunya election bill causes online storm

Parliament in a previous session. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The introduction of a Bill seeking to bring back manual transmission of election results, which was last used in 2007, has elicited mixed reactions on the internet since yesterday and the better part of this morning.

This was after three out of Kenya’s four dailies front-paged the details of the Proposed Elections Amendment Bill.

The State-sponsored Bill was tabled on the floor of the House yesterday by Majority Leader Amos Kimunya.

“Clause 21 seeks to amend Section 44A of the Act to provide for a complementary mechanism for voter identification and transmission of election results,” reads the Bill.

Most Kenyans got wind of the Bill and its details from the newspapers this morning and partly last night from e-papers.

United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Digital Strategist, Dennis Itumbi, was among the first to share the information on their social media platforms a few minutes to midnight.

Itumbi expressed his displeasure on the Bill, saying his political team will have over 55,000 accounts for announcing the August 9 polls results, parallel from the electoral body IEBC.

Most Kenyans expressed their fears of possible election interference that could lead to chaos similar to the 2007 Post-Election Violence.

Some discouraged the use of manual transmission of voting results saying it would highly spread the Covid-19 disease.

“.... I am in Azimio but can't tolerate legislation meant to erode our technological advances on poll results transmission. All we need is to improve the system to prevent technological rigging. Let's not take Kenya to a Kivuitu moment,” Makori Abuga wrote on the micro-blogging site.

“This one we reject. I think Uhuru is testing our patience…!” H K Macharia tweeted.

Grace Chege said, “why would Uhuru want to take us back to 2007?...”

On the contrary, some netizens were in full support of the Bill and sounded unbothered as long as their preferred candidates won the elections.

“I am just like you. Let them do whatever they want so long as they don't declare Sugoi man as president…” P Kayasi opined.

The Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2022 is pushing for alternative methods that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) can deploy to relay results during the August 9 polls.

It further seeks to allow for manual identification of voters at the polling station amid claims of dead voters casting their votes in alleged election manipulation in the previous elections.

The Bill seeks to allow for manual identification of voters at the polling station. Claims of dead voters casting their ballot have been at the heart of alleged election manipulation in the previous elections.

If made law, returning officers managing the polls will have to physically deliver election results to the national tallying centre if doing so electronically fails.

After the 2007 elections, a new commission (IEBC) was formed, to conduct election processes electronically for easy verification.