Jubilee disowns bill seeking return of manual transmission of election results

Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju says IEBC sponsored the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2022. [File, Standard]

Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju has disowned the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2022 seeking to return the manual transmission of election results last used in 2007.

Speaking during an interview with Inooro FM on Friday, Tuju said if adopted, the bill will allow massive vote-rigging and negate gains made by the 2010 Constitution in electoral reforms. 

Tuju said the Bill was sponsored by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and not Jubilee as being reported.

"That Bill is brought by IEBC and not Jubilee. We cannot allow any law that can allow rigging of elections in this country. We will not support any bill that negates the constitution and the gains that have been made," he said.

The Bill is pushing for alternative methods that the IEBC can deploy to relay results during the August 9 polls.

It further seeks to allow for manual identification of voters at the polling station.

Jubilee has been on the receiving end after the Bill was tabled on the floor of the House on Wednesday by Majority Leader Amos Kimunya.

 “Clause 21 seeks to amend Section 44A of the Act to provide for a complementary mechanism for voter identification and transmission of election results,” states the Bill.

Part of the implication of the provision is that returning officers managing the polls would have to physically deliver election results to the national tallying centre.

It further implies that the failure of electronic transmission cannot be a basis to challenge the outcome of the presidential election outcome.

National Assembly Minority Whit Junet Mohamed also declared the Bill a clawback on the electoral reforms, saying the manual system of tallying is open to manipulation.

He said the country had invested heavily in the electronic system hence the need to deploy and improve on the use of technology and not to revert to manual.

“We are not supporting the elections amendment bill that is taking us back to manual system of tallying which is open to manipulation and errors,” he said.

United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Digital Strategist, Dennis Itumbi, expressed his displeasure on the Bill, saying his political team will have over 55,000 accounts for announcing the August 9 polls results, parallel from the electoral body IEBC.

Most Kenyans expressed their fears of possible election interference that could lead to chaos similar to the 2007 Post-Election Violence.

Some discouraged the use of manual transmission of voting results saying it would highly spread the Covid-19 disease.

“.... I am in Azimio but can't tolerate legislation meant to erode our technological advances on poll results transmission. All we need is to improve the system to prevent technological rigging. Let's not take Kenya to a Kivuitu moment,” Makori Abuga wrote on the micro-blogging site.

Grace Chege said, “why would Uhuru want to take us back to 2007?...”

Electronic transmission of results was at the heart of the 2017 presidential petition where Opposition chief Raila Odinga successfully challenged the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta at the Supreme Court.

The country was plunged into a crisis in 2007 after the delay of some of the presidential results which was attributed to the manual transmission. Some election officials took too long to turn up at the national tallying centre.