The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) is urging Kenyans to remain calm awaiting the declaration of the presidential results by the electoral commission.
In a statement to newsrooms Thursday evening, LSK President Isaac Okero said preliminary findings from both its short and long-term observers indicated that Tuesday’s vote “went on well apart from a few reported minor incidences.”
According to Okero, the technology deployed by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) – the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (KIEMS) – to identify voters and transmit election results worked without failure throughout the polling process, affirming the credibility of the general election.
“The KIEMS appears to have functioned without any operational flaws and the voting process was largely free, fair and credible,” he stated in his statement.
Okero noted that LSK observers who monitored the pre-election process, polling and post-poll process so far have raised no concern over the credibility of the elections.
LSK observers according to Okero were particularly impressed by the high level of transparency built into the IEBC’s Results Transmission System (RTS) whose simulation they witnessed on August 2, five days to the election.
“The live demonstration shown to the members of the public, press, political stakeholders and members of the diplomatic corps one week before the election day showed to all the scanning of forms 34A from various polling stations, the transmission of results together with the scanned form and the receipt at the national tallying center of the results and scanned forms with the display of provisional results automatically updated by the system – all in real time,” Okero noted.
He urged political leaders to exercise restraint even as the polls body continues to receive results declaration forms from the 290 constituencies spread across the country, adding those who feel aggrieved can seek legal redress upon declaration of election results.
“Pursuant to Article 138(10) of the Kenyan Constitution the IEBC has seven days after the presidential election to declare the results of the election,” said Okero assuring that LSK’s observer mission will give a comprehensive report after the entire electoral process is completed.
“We remind political leaders and candidates that, for the election dispute resolution process, the Judiciary and the Bar are both adequately prepared,” he added.
Okero urged the IEBC to complete the ongoing verification of preliminary results in a fair, transparent and credible manner as stipulated in the law.
Further, he urged security agencies to continue discharging their mandate to protect citizens’ lives and properties in fairness.
“We urge all the security agents to remain professional, neutral and non-partisan when undertaking their duty of maintaining law and order,” he pleaded.
LSK’s statement on its preliminary findings come in the backdrop of other observer mission preliminary reports as well which gave IEBC a vote of confidence in the manner it has conducted the elections so far.
From the Carter Center election observer mission in Kenya under the leadership of former US Secretary of State John Kerry to the African Union observer mission under the supervision of former South African President Thabo Mbeki, the election monitoring groups lauded Kenya for conducting a peaceful and transparent poll, urging for calm as the IEBC concludes the collation of results.
“We call on all the candidates whether they are victors or losers in this race to work within the rule of law and the legitimate dispute process in order to challenge this election where they have evidence that somehow that dispute made a material difference in the election,” Kerry said.
“The AU Election Observer Mission is pleased to say that the elections were peaceful and similarly the process of counting the votes at the polling stations was done in a transparent manner with the participation of the agents of the political parties and the forms reflecting the information were then agreed by the IEBC presiding officers and the party agents,” said Mbeki.
Similar remarks were voiced by the head of the Commonwealth observer mission, former Ghanaian President John Mahama who praised IEBC for managing elections in a transparent manner.
“The management of the process by the IEBC is commendable. Polling staff were professional in conducting the voting process. We noted these efforts were directed at ensuring sufficient transparency in the presence of party agents that were at many of the polling stations,” said the retired leader of a nation which only recently successfully launched its first satellite into space.
So far, two presidential candidates – Ekuru Aukot (Thirdway Alliance) and Japheth Kaluyu (Independent) have conceded defeat, with Orange Democratic Movement candidate Raila Odinga contesting preliminary results on claims of election malpractice.