Kenya’s electoral body on Monday said the opposition’s plan to hold parallel vote tallying in Aug. 8 presidential election was illegal.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga vowed Sunday that his party would use 450,000 agents throughout the polling stations to count the votes independently alongside the electoral commission, in an attempt to prevent any rigging.
“In 2013, I won the elections but then they rigged it [in favor of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta]. We have the power to remove Jubilee party as long as all the votes are counted correctly.
“In all the vote tallying centers we will have a committee of 50 people. After the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announces their results, we as the opposition will announce ours for comparison. We won’t accept rigged results,” he said.
In a statement on Monday, IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati criticized the plan, saying it was against the law for political parties to tally election results independently.
“For the avoidance of doubt, it is only the commission that is allowed under the law to count, tally, collate, announce and declare the results of an election,” Chebukati said in a statement to the media.
“Other actors including political parties shall have access to the results within the framework established by the Commission. We encourage all players to allow the Commission to execute its mandate as set out in law,” he added.
Chebukati reiterated that the Commission would provide a free and credible election, adding currently 85,000 police officers were receiving training on crowd control mechanisms to ensure the Aug. 8 election runs smoothly.
Odinga’s remarks infuriated Kenyans who went to social media platforms to air their views with many cautioning that the move might bring back post-election violence in the East African country, where the disputed elections in 2007 and 2008 set off clashes which left at least 1,100 dead and hundreds of thousands displaced.