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Kenya: Why does the electoral commission struggle with elections each time?

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This article is part of the dossier:

Kenya 2022: Who will win the great race?

By Jeff Otieno

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Posted on September 5, 2022 13:17

Kenya’s election results are announced
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati announces the result in Kenya’s presidential election at the IEBC National Tallying Centre at the Bomas of Kenya, in Nairobi, Kenya August 15, 2022. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Despite being allocated billions of shillings every five years, the electoral body continues to fail the test of delivering a free, fair and verifiable presidential election leaving many voters worried about the country’s political future. Is delivering an uncontested presidential election in Kenya an impossible task? And what really happened this time round?

In 2007, a few days after declaring President Mwai Kibaki the winner of the presidential election, the electoral body chairman  Samuel Kivuitu walked back his statement insisting that  he was not sure whether the head of state had actually won the plebiscite.

“I am not sure whether Kibaki won the election. I was under fierce pressure from politicians and the European Union ambassadors to announce the results,” a frightened Kivuitu said.

The remark angered supporters of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) who believed Raila Odinga’s victory had been stolen at the eleventh hour in a dirty scheme that allegedly involved the electoral commissioners and powerful government officials in the Kibaki administration.

Kivuitu’s statement added fire to the already high political tension that had engulfed the country hours after the announcement of the results, leading to full-blown ethnic violence

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