Mega Corruption in Electioneering: A very costly sham election!
Even before we start what looks like an impending and protracted court process (that will unveil horrid details) we need to interrogate the conduct of this election. Long after the election was concluded, IEBC Chairman Isaak Hassan announced to the world that the turnout percentage was in the 70s. It now turns out it was in the mid to upper 80s, with some places approaching (if not surpassing ) 100% as we might soon find out.
Many serious questions will arise out of this election – touching on the link between mega corruption and a questionable election.
Were certain IEBC procurement decisions customized (or single-sourced) to ensure the outcome we witnessed starting on voting day?
Billions of shillings were spent to procure electronic systems that were meant to make the elections foolproof, while at the same time speeding it up (increasing efficiency). We must start asking Isaak Hassan whether IEBC’s spending decisions achieved its stated goals.
There is a very clear link between extraordinary turnout rates and rigging. To stem this vice, IEBC used billions of shillings to purchase electronic notebooks that were meant to verify that voters in line were actually the same people in the register.
Did they work? Of course the system largely failed. Was such failure deliberate, or purely out of technical or skill-gap reasons?
Allowing some benefit of doubt, it is possible to attribute unprecedented turnouts to sheer interest to vote in this particular election (devolution et al.,). What is not in doubt, is that some extraordinary turnout rates in certain constituencies were linked to deliberate stalling or outright refusal to use electronic notebooks – to specifically allow impersonation of dead or sick voters, and in some brazen incidences, multiple voting.
Despite the billions spent to stem voter impersonations, we might have ironically ended up with unprecedented incidences of impersonations and multiple-voting – a scandal of huge proportions. Needless to state, past midnight, a day after the election – voting was still going on in some of these places where impersonations reigned. Some very ‘resourceful’ presiding officers – recruited by IEBC - come in here. The issue of staffing and deployment of IEBC staff will have to come back to light. Instead of punishing electoral officials involved in fraudulent activities, Kenya seems to be rewarding such vices –only leading to a proliferation of such malpractices.
There were also media reports about ballot stuffing, for instance the incident in Meru, where a Government of Kenya (GK) vehicle stuffed with ballot papers was intercepted by some youth. Where could such ballot papers have come from? Could it have been from the same manufacturer? Was there a ‘side-order’ procured with deception in serial numbers? Could this happen without insider collusion.