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Every vote counts, so let’s do it by hand for avoidance of doubt

PETER KIMANI
By - | August 3rd 2012

 

Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang can be a fairly resourceful person. As you must be aware, he is able to deliver a motley of messages, if only through silly songs like his Mapambano (struggles) or childish chides over Kiraitu Murungi mbas, or poking fun at Raphael Tuju’s party, whose Poa acronym excites Kajwang to no end.

But Kajwang can also be a great source of amusement – even without uttering a word. When excited, his eyes open wide and threaten to pop out, and his ears stand like wings poised to flutter in the wind.

He appeared surprisingly calm this week as he explained what the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) should do in light of pressing deadlines and procurement hiccups that saw the cancellation of a major supply tender.

Those kinds of mapambano, Kajwang offered, could be easily sorted if IEBC used manual voters’ register. Hours later, IEBC boss Isaack Hassan announced they would do exactly what Kajwang was proposing, although he did not acknowledge Kajwang as the source of their wisdom. Incidentally, Kajwang could do well to heed his own advice to clear the backlog of youngsters who might be locked out of the electoral process if they do not secure voters’ cards – for which many have been queuing for years.

Still, IEBC should be applauded for their decision, as there are many benefits that come with a manual register. From past experience, we know immense powers are invested in IEBC. A clerk holding a file is the singular authority that decides if your name is to be found in the register, or, if for some reason you are not allowed to cast a ballot, circumvent the process.

PALTRY VOTES

Further, it is pretty easy to create new identities, even where their owners are non-existent without any fear of discovery. That means the task of registering 18 million people can be accomplished in a few days, and without breaking a sweat.

Come the voting day, a manual register is amenable to manipulation. One can fast-track the voting process in areas where one draws support or slow things down in areas where less favourable outcomes are expected.

There is nothing sinister about this; it simply nullifies the prospects of aibu ndogo ndogo (embarrassing trifle) like presidential candidates securing paltry votes so that the Hassan shall be reading some of the results like: Kenyatta, Uhuru Muigai, kura moja... Amolo, Raila Odinga, kura mbili,  Mudavadi, Wycliffe Musalia, zero...

KENYAN DIASPORA

I do not have to enumerate all the candidates, buoyed by Tinga’s proclamation that many won’t matter since they are asses competing in a horserace, and so shall be evidently outclassed. You don’t want to challenge where that’s coming from as there are chaps who believe Tinga has powers to foresee the future.

Similarly, it is a safe bet that there a few things that some politicians will not be able to achieve, even after their heavy investment. To start with, the Kenyan Diaspora will not be able to vote, and the estimated three million voters simply will not count.

Since some politicians have been busy campaigning abroad, their effort shall come to nought. This will be regarded as a form of rigging as some chaps have not expended any effort in that direction, and so shall have more resources at their disposal for local campaigning.

The other benefit is that a manual register is easy to discard after use, and reduce the prospects of successful litigation. That’s what it means by planning ahead.

FEEDBACK

Stanley Mutung’u has been scrutinising public notices from City Hall with what Minister Mutula Kilonzo  calls “sharp lawyer’s mind,” which means reading between the lines, and ensuring all the commas and full-stops are in the right place.

Mutung’u had no trouble picking a key anomaly between the notice splashed everywhere in the Press, on TV screens and billboards, and what the city fathers have placed outside the Cash Office in City Hall.

100 per cent

While the public notice announces 100 per cent waiver on land rates penalties (which Mutung’u points out are compounded at the ridiculously high monthly rate of 3 per cent), the City Hall notice has a curious rider. It says all amounts are “subject to a 5 per cent administrative charge on accrued interest.”

Now, now, that math simply does not add up. At least it does not add up to 100 per cent waiver. The waiver is 95 per cent, clarifies Mutung’u, who queries the motivation for such obfuscation.

The lawyer wonders what will happen to property owners who take up council’s offer and rush pay the rates arrears and are not informed of the hidden charges.

Mutung’u says such folk shall go home knowing that they have cleared their rates arrears at CCN, although the truth of the matter is that their files would still indicate they have not settled the five per cent penalty, and so run the risk of having their properties auctioned over “outstanding” bills. I think lawyer Mutung’u is expecting too much from an outfit least known for moral probity.

 

Sir Edward has feet of Clay, so can’t make it to banquet

 

Sir Edward Clay, the last colonial Governor to Kenya had an interesting encounter with Kenyan officials this week when he was turned away at a banquet in London.

Nominated to attend a ball hosted by Prezzo for Kenyans in the Diaspora, Sir Edward was preparing to step out in his tails and ties, but he was reminded he still had feet of clay.

To jog your memory, Sir Edward is the chap who used fairly obscene terms to describe licentious Kenyan politicians, equating their natural act of “eating” public funds as similar to gluttons eating donors’ money beyond their fill, then vomiting on their shoes.

Now in retirement in England or somewhere near there, Sir Edward is reported to have been “slightly disappointed” over the snub, but expressed his optimism that he would find other ways of “celebrating Kenya,” like cheering our athletes at the Olympics.

That would be a recent hobby that Sir Edward has developed, as no sports scribes would remember him turning up at local stadia for sports extravaganza during his tour off duty. He was more likely to be found in our game parks enjoying drives, which he probably misses after Kenya declared him persona non-grata upon the expiry of his diplomatic duty.

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