EDITORIAL: Talk of parallel vote tallying dangerous

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The National Super Alliance has triggered a row with its declaration that it will set up a parallel election tallying centre and announce results.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has quickly and unequivocally vowed to stop the plan. The Jubilee coalition and other critics have equally rejected it.

In law, the IEBC is the only institution mandated to announce and declare winners of an election; a fact Nasa is alive to. However, any independent outfit, even a political party can tally results based on figures announced by IEBC’s officials at the polling stations or tallying centres across the country – that is perfectly legitimate.

Media houses have always done that – it is part of election monitoring. What they cannot do is to declare the winner.

However, the concern over Nasa’s announcement is the purpose for which the data will be used. There are serious fears the parallel tallying centre is likely to fuel violence in the event that its figures differ with those of the IEBC.

Precisely, the 2007/8 violence was about the contestation over the presidential vote tally. Although the 2013 elections were largely peaceful, there was serious disagreement over the figures leading to the filing of a petition in the Supreme Court.

Already, the political temperatures are rising even before the proper electioneering period. The stakes are high if the events preceding the nominations are anything to go by.

When Nasa declares it will set up its own tallying centre, the import is that it does not have faith in the IEBC.

Coming against the backdrop of previous statements to the effect that the IEBC is not ready for the elections, aspersions are being cast on its ability to deliver a fair and believable poll. Put together, a narrative is being weaved that the IEBC lacks the capacity and that the results it releases might not be sound.

Political players have a duty to contribute towards conducive environment where voters make choices objectively and the arbiter operates without fear.

They should not undermine IEBC and create the impression it is failing; which fact prepares ground for chaos. 


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