IEBC calls for meeting with Ruto, Raila, Wajackoyah and Mwaure

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has called Kenya’s four presidential candidates for a meeting on Friday, July 29.

IEBC’s Chief Executive Officer Marjan Hussein Marjan said the commission will clarify Forms 34A and 34B after Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya raised concerns.

IEBC has written to Deputy President William Ruto of UDA, Raila Odinga of Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya, George Wajackoyah of Roots Party and David Mwaure of Agano Party.

“The purpose of this letter is to invite you and your representatives to a consultative meeting to address the concerns raised,” said Marjan in his letter to the candidates.

On Wednesday, July 27 Azimio la Umoja raised questions on the printing of Forms 34A and 34B by a Greek firm contracted by the IEBC.

Odinga said in a letter signed by Azimio’s chief legal adviser, Paul Mwangi, that his team discovered “disturbing issues” after learning that the IEBC printed two books of Forms 34A.

Azimio also expressed concern that the IEBC was not printing Forms 34B, into which polling station results recorded in Forms 34A are collated.

Under election regulations, Form 34A is the first form used to tabulate results of the presidential election and is filled by the Presiding Officer after counting of votes at the polling station.

The details of votes obtained by each candidate are filled in, as well as total number of registered voters. The form also details the rejected, objected, disputed and valid votes. The candidates or their agents are then required to sign and ratify that the contents of that form are correct.

Form 34As gained notoriety in the 2017 General Election after they were cited as one of the reasons for the cancellation of the presidential results. Raila, who was contesting on a Nasa ticket, challenged the results because some of the forms were not signed.

Mr Mwangi said they sought clarification from IEBC commissioners during a visit to the printer in Greece and the explanation given was that extra Form 34As were needed in each polling station because there was a need to give copies to election observers, media and other stakeholders.

“We, however, reject this explanation. Firstly, because Book 2 of 2 from which it is alleged copies for stakeholders will be obtained is more than just a copy. It is actually a set of fully fledged Form 34As complete with all security features similar to those in Book 1 of 2. A Form 34A from Book 2 of 2 satisfies every requirement of electoral laws and regulations and can be used as a substitute,” said Mr Mwangi.

The lawyer said it was clear that Book 2 of 2 was never meant to be a copy of Book 1 of 2 because it has separate and distinct serial numbering.

“Book 2 of 2 is not an intended continuation of the declaration in Book 1 of 2, but actually a separate and parallel result declaration form. The only original Form 34As that the commission needs in this presidential election are six (6) - one for the national returning officer, one for each candidate, and one inside the ballot boxes to be sealed with other election materials.

“There is, therefore, no room for the commission to exercise any discretion in this matter. The commission must print Form 34Bs on the same footing as it has printed Form 34As. I raised these issues today at the airport when we attended the ceremony to receive the first batch of presidential ballot papers,” he said.