Vote-rigging claim by Ruto lacks merit, says polls agency

Deputy President William Ruto during a past presser at his official Karen residence. [David Njaaga, Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto and Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairperson Wafula Chebukati yesterday clashed over vote-rigging allegations.

During a forum with European ambassadors at his official Karen residence, Ruto claimed that details of “close to a million voters” from his “strongholds” had been struck out of the register, as part of an alleged rigging plot.

The DP accused government officials of attempting to manipulate the IEBC’s electronic systems to influence the General Election, citing the involvement of Cabinet secretaries in the presidential succession politics, and saying it was against the Constitution and that it affected the credibility of the election.

He took particular issue with ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru’s support of Raila Odinga, the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition’s presidential flag-bearer.

“How did close to a million votes disappear from the register, and many of those names are of people from what we consider our strongholds? There is a clear attempt to try some monkey games. We don’t believe they will succeed but these attempts are a source of concern to Kenyans,” Ruto claimed, asking the EU ambassadors to question the IEBC and the government officials over his claims. The Standard could not independently verify the claims. Ruto also said that his United Democratic Alliance Party would write to the lEBC on the matter.

But Chebukati dismissed the allegations saying that no such thing had happened. While addressing the press at the Bomas of Kenya, Chebukati said that no names had been struck out or illegally transferred to other polling stations.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairperson Wafula Chebukati. [File, Standard]

“There has been no breach or any form of interference with the systems that we have maintained,” he said.

The IEBC boss asked Kenyans to remain calm as they wait for the register to be gazetted and published. Chebukati said the missing names are of voters who applied for transfers “something the commission is working on to ensure that the right process is used for the transfers.”

“Yes there are cases where polling centres were re-gazetted because of the requests by the owners of those institutions and new polling centres created, making a movement of voters, but those are the aspects that we will clarify to Kenyans,” he said.

IEBC CEO Marjan Hussein Marjan said the commission is currently undertaking a quality assurance process of transfers that have been affected “to ensure that each and every transfer has a correspondent and duly signed by the person who requested for it.”

Mr Marjan said the process would help the commission “take action to the respectful returning officers should there be any transfers without following due procedure.”

“If there are going to be any transfers without a form, we will have to reverse,” he said. “We want to assure Kenyans that there is nothing like trying to rig using this process. It’s a very transparent process and that is why we gave Kenyans an opportunity to verify and inspect their details on their phones and even on our portal.”