Kenya dispatch: ‘Kenya is in a state of limbo at the moment’ Dispatches
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Kenya dispatch: ‘Kenya is in a state of limbo at the moment’

Aynsley Genga is a JURIST Staff Correspondent in Kenya. She reports from Nairobi. 

It has been five days since we in Kenya had our elections on August 9th. Five days, and still we do not know who our president is. As the wait continues, so does the pressure. Kenya is in a state of limbo at the moment. Sure, there are those who have gone back to work, but all everyone is thinking about are the election results. Most areas are not as packed as they normally are, even school term dates for reopening have been pushed to a later date since, as it stands, nobody really knows when those results are going to be announced.

Kenya is just a big ball of tension right now, if I’m to be completely honest. We all thought the election results for all positions would be announced by Friday latest, but with the recent rigging attempts happening nobody is sure anymore. On Saturday, IEBC [the Independent Election and Boundaries Commission charged with counting the votes] announced that they had discovered that Deputy President William Ruto had been awarded an extra 10,000 votes in Kiambu constituency while Raila Odinga had been deducted 100 votes. The rigging attempts do not end there. On that very same Saturday, there came word that Gladys Shollei, the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary and a currently elected Women Representative under the UDA flag, was caught carrying a laptop as well some mysterious documents which people suspected to be rigged presidential election forms. She was spotted by Azimio party agents who raised the alarm and caused a commotion upon discovery. Videos of her carrying the documents as well as interacting with an IEBC official went viral on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Whatsapp. Due to the recent rigging scandals coming to light especially those in the Mount Kenya region, Jubilee party leaders came together on Saturday to announce that they would challenge the election results and prove to Kenyans that there is no UDA wave in the Mt. Kenya region.

Saturday was packed with drama. Activists came forward to challenge Ruto’s presidential eligibilty. This stems from the fact that his running mate, Mr. Gachagua, still has a graft case pending in court. Moreover, just recently the High Court made a judgment that allowed the government to seize 202 million Kenyan Shillings from Mr. Gachagua that they claim is dirty cash. The activists therefore argue that if Ruto is indeed sworn in as president it will contravene the provisions of Chapter Six of the Constitution of Kenya (CoK) on leadership and integrity. Kenya’s Supreme Court is set to hear and determine the matter. Later on in the day there was also the incident of Esther Passaris, the elected Nairobi Women Representative, unceremoniously dragging an IEBC official out of The Bomas of Kenya, the election count center building. The official was suspected of assisting Kenya Kwanza leaders rig the elections. The official was taken away by police and calm was restored.

Earlier, on Friday, IEBC chairman Chebukati announced that the returning officer for Embakasi East had gone missing. According to the IEBC chairman, the officer went missing Thursday at around 9.45 am. The officer had been situated at the East African School of Aviation during the time of his disappearance. A commotion arose when the officer, Daniel Musyoka, was not around to hand over the certificates to the winners for the Member of County Assemblies (MCA) and the Member of Parliament (MP) race. The certificates were handed over by another official. The IEBC as well as his family have attempted to reach out to him but with no success. Chebukati stated that a missing person’s report has already been filed at the Embakasi Police station. The incident caused panic amongst Kenyans especially since there is the fear of whether the man is alive or not. Many are hoping that he is found soon.

Owing to the Gladys Shollei scandal, as well as the other numerous rigging attempts that have occured in The Bomas of Kenya, security has been tightened and only those who are involved in the voter verification process such as the agents will be allowed inside Bomas of Kenya. The directive was issued on Saturday evening by IEBC Commissioner Abdi Guliye. “We have made changes to access Bomas tallying center. We will only allow the presence of agents, persons who will help them, chief agents, deputy chief agents, clerks, observers and the media you can cover as you wish,” he said.

Honestly speaking,  just when you think the pressure cannot get any worse, Saturday night we heard rumors that the Directorate of Criminal Investigations(DCI) was spotted at Bomas of Kenya due to rigging attempts happening. People are then left wondering whether the rumor is true or not, especially since it does not seem like an unbelievable story if one looks at the recent events happening at The Bomas of Kenya.

As it stands, a new week has already begun and most of us were hoping that today, Sunday, would be better and the counting would continue on peacefully. But our hopes were once again dashed when Presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s Chief Agent Saitabao Ole Kanchory alleged ‘Bomas is a scene of crime’ on live TV. A commotion could be seen in the background that police were trying to calm down. This happened just a few hours after Agano party presidential candidate David Mwaure declared that he had conceded defeat. Kenyans are therefore once again off to a tense start of the week. The video of the agent has already gone viral on Twitter.

With all these events happening, Kenyans have been left wondering what will happen if the IEBC fails to meet the one week tallying deadline required by law. They have up to the end of August 15th, Monday. This question arose on social media since the Constitution of Kenya does not have any provision covering this matter. Kenyans have therefore came up with three competing solutions. Some say that that IEBC should just request more time from the court, Others say we will just remain without a new president until a solution is found, while there are still others who say that the country will just have to do a re-run election. All this needs to be added and discussed further in the constitution.

Kenyans have been left frustrated due to the wait and drama involved and many even went on Twitter to demand the arrest of Gladys Shollei and everyone else involved in any rigging allegations. Many have said these people should be sent to jail to serve as examples for anyone else who wants to destroy the peace we have. There have also been those who are questioning why Presidential candidate Ruto has not yet been disqualified from the race despite all the scandals surrounding his party.

Through all the drama that has happened so far, one thing that Kenyans are glad for is the availability of all the election result forms on the IEBC portal. This has helped to ensure transparency and accountability of the IEBC. Kenyans can even count for themselves if the pressure gets too much. Moreover, with media stations being banned from showing different presidential results, many Kenyans are hoping this will be a good learning lesson and will help motivate them to a have a better tallying system next time.

Kenyans are now hoping the results will be announced before the tallying deadline expires. After all, we need to go on with our lives and another election will just be a waste of resources. The majority of Kenyans continue to pray that, whoever wins, there will be peace.