Parallel vote tallying a must, insists Raila Odinga


Plans to set up a parallel vote tallying centre will go on as planned despite protests from Jubilee and the electoral commission, Opposition chief Raila Odinga has said.

The former prime minister Wednesday said there was nothing sinister in setting up a facility to monitor the outcome of the elections.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and Jubilee Party operatives had declared plans by the Opposition unconstitutional, saying they were a recipe for chaos. The two say only the electoral body is allowed to monitor and manage a vote tallying centre.

But Wednesday Raila said the practice was common in democracies across the globe and would not interfere with the work of the electoral body in any way.

The IEBC is set to meet NASA principals Thursday to try to convince them to drop the idea.

Raila, who spoke at his Opoda farm in Bondo, Siaya County, where he received a delegation from Keiyo South, said having a parallel tallying centre does not amount to mistrust of the commission.

"There is no course for alarm. I did not say we will be announcing results. I said we will be tallying the results and comparing them with what the commission will announce. And this is not the first time aspirants tally their votes," said Raila, adding that those criticising the plan may have little understanding about it.

However, he said the Opposition was ready to use Thursday's meeting to explain to IEBC how their parallel tallying system would work. The National Council of Churches of Kenya had said that such a move was a recipe for chaos.

But Raila has maintained that "countries like America and Ghana have used the parallel tallying stations during elections, so we can also do it".