I’m no prophet of doom, but there is an ominous cloud above

All indications are that today, the national presidential election chief presiding officer will declare the winner of August 8 State House race. On Thursday, Wafula Chebukati gave County Returning Officers a deadline of noon today to present Forms 34B, which is the signed tally of data taken from Forms 34As submitted from polling stations.

There are certain predictable scenarios that would then follow and which even the most ardent of optimists acknowledge, especially with the statements both the Jubilee Party and the National Super-Alliance have made. This election is a political fraction with the same denominator and numerator as the last one in 2013– President Uhuru Kenyatta who is seeking re-election with his deputy William Ruto, and the Opposition pair of Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka.

Anger and tension

That is where the problem starts; it is a rematch tempered by anger and tension from the first round match. Raila and Kalonzo told their allies that Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto cheated their way in the firstrace to avoid a run-off. They also have prepared them psychologically through the '10 Million strong' slogan for victory and that if anything less, that would be because of rigging.
The images that have been projected on TV screens from Tuesday evening, which last night had Mr Kenyatta at 8.1million votes and Mr Odinga at 6.7 million, naturally sear their hearts.

In the afternoon, Musalia Mudavadi had announced figures claiming the NASA candidate was ahead with 8.4 million and the incumbent in the neighbourhood of 7.9m.

They claimed they have data sourced from IEBC database and promised to later produce computer screenshots among other evidence to back their claim that Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka now await official declaration and coronation. With both sides expecting or proclaiming victory, the line is indeed drawn and we can only look at the unfolding scenario with deep sense of trepidation.

The crux of all that is happening has got to do with the lack of trust on IEBC by the Odunga team and the confidence Jubilee is exuding over its processes. This lack of trust started the moment Raila and his team demanded that IEBC be swept clean of the Isaack Hassan team. Subsequently, they demanded that election results announced at polling stations be final. That too was upheld by the courts.

The other wish they got was the use of electronic transmission of results. Shortly thereafter, the Jubilee Party sought to have manual tallying introduced should the electronic option fail should the system be hacked or if technology fails.

With the bitter memories of 2013 where the Raila Odinga team believes Jubilee sabotaged the BVR kit to allow the inclusion of the two million votes that exclusively went to the presidential category, NASA fought the manual option.

Manual process

But we are back to the manual process, with NASA now holding the other end of the stick. They will have to rely on what is contained in form 34Bs that will be dropped off at Bomas by the ROs. NASA's contention is that the text results transmitted through the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System are unverified and unauthenticated and therefore invalid.

The hardest job in town today is that of Wafula Chebukati. We have two or three sets of results; there is NASA's whose source is allegedly sliced off IEBC's database and field work; we have what IEBC is beaming.

And then there is a possibility of a third result if the ongoing collation of Forms 34Bs from the constituencies gives a different tally from that which was sourced from form 34A.

It is not anyone's wish to have a bad weekend despite the clean bill of health returned by foreign observers. But then the stark reality we are facing is that one side will accept the results and the other will ask them to 'accept (outcome) and move on' or go to courts.

Let us now sit back and wait for the long weekend where safety may be in light shoes, a teargas mask and being indoors. May God Protect Kenya.

Mr Tanui is the Standard Group Deputy Editorial Director and Managing Editor, Daily Editions

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Election 2017