IEBC really does a good job, until it’s time to count the vote… Do the math
mainly civil society organisations that were involved in the election last year through different platforms and committees. Some of the concerns that were brought forward were, “Should we destroy voting material a few months after an election?” Some representatives felt that there was no need to keep them for years and for what? Interestingly, an individual took to the microphone and opposed the idea, saying, “Even though the US is about 200 years old, you can still find voting material from the 1800s. It is good to keep this information which can later be used for research…”
But why research in a country that does not understand the value of data? That will be an article for another day.
There was a lot of drama that unfolded in 2017, but it was not unique to IEBC. Every commission has suffered; every election year, we change leadership as quickly as a dirty diaper. Our elections do become more expensive by the year and quite frankly even more organised. The process appears to work and to work efficiently.
The queues last year were organised, most polling stations opened early and reported a smooth flow of voting. When IEBC released an animation on television demonstrating how the lines would be arranged in alphabetical order so we wouldn’t need to spend hours at the polling station – I was a doubting Thomas. This time round, we could verify via text message where we would vote from and which line to join. Even with those adjustments, I honestly doubted that IEBC would be organised, so I went to Kiboro Primary School with extremely low expectations. When you expect the worst, everything and anything always appears to be great and I wanted to end the day on a positive note. That was my mission.
But they were organised! We lined up – I remember staying two hours longer than my husband. He is fortunate his name starts with a “B,” so he had just about 20 people in front of him. Then he joined me in my line to keep me company, and we debated changing my name for future elections and seriously thinking about these things when naming children – laughable but true. I was always the last child to be called in assembly.
Back to the meeting with IEBC, “Ballot boxes – why do we have to buy new ones every election year. Why can’t we just recycle them? We know an election is coming, where do they go?” “What happened to Msando? And why a year on, the investigations seem to have gone silent? Someone lost their life because of the job position that he held and it was linked to the credibility of our elections. What does that mean for that position in future? Will you protect the individual?”
So, still more questions than answers on everyone’s mind. Indeed, our mistrust continues to grow with every election. Only three commissioners are currently serving while the CEO is being investigated. There was a moment when chairman Wafula Chebukati did mention that the achievements that IEBC has made cannot be ignored. They are trying to be independent and it is a process, so changing leadership will not make an impact on the commission.
Right now, they have to work toward 2022 and not wait for a year before the election. There are some major changes to be made. We have no problem with going to vote, and no problem with the process, but, the counting of the vote… As long as the integrity of the process cannot be guaranteed, we will always have questionable elections.
This time round, we could verify via text message where we would vote from and which line to join... still, mistrust continues to grow