Election observers commend IEBC, say no signs of manipulation


Former South African President Thabo Mbeki (left) with ex-US Secretary of State John Kerry at the national tallying centre in Nairobi on August 9, 2017. PHOTO | AFP

The General Election was free and fair, observer missions with the East African Community (EAC), the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) have said Thursday.

EU mission boss Marietje Schaake said that although it had yet to make its final report on the tallying process, her team had not spotted any signs of centralised or localised manipulation so far.

"Kenyans have displayed extraordinary patience, give IEBC time to finish their task as mandated by the law," Ms Schaake said.

"We are pleased to say that the voting process was peaceful and counting transparent...The process has met the African Union standards," AU mission head and former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, said today.

EAC observers also lauded the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for a job well done, adding that they were satisfied with the agency's explanation of claims that their systems had been hacked.

Their comments come just a day after NASA frontrunner Raila Odinga claimed in a news conference that the commission's software had been compromised on election day.

The IEBC has since denied the claims, saying its systems were safe and that the commission was yet to receive an official complaint from Mr Odinga.

"Our election management system is secure. There was no interference in the system as alleged," IEBC chief executive Ezra Chiloba said in a briefing last night.

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati however said in an update on Thursday that there was an attempted hack but that it did not succeed.

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Rejected votes

African Union (AU) observers however expressed their concern over the high number of rejected votes found during the tallying process.

Mr Thabo Mbeki, suggested the many rejected votes point to a lack of voter education.

He cited a number of rejected ballots that had ticks spilling out to adjacent candidates' boxes, resulting in a spoilt ballot.

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry also brought up the rejected votes issue while addressing journalists at a news conference Thursday.

"My judgment is we'll get to the bottom of the rejected ballot issue," he said, adding that IEBC officials seemed to clearly understand what constitutes spoilt ballot or not, therefore pointing to an issue with those voting.

READ: Polls agency starts to verify results amid fraud claim