Kenya’s embattled electoral chief, Samuel Kivuitu, admitted Monday that December’s presidential elections which ignited violent killings were massively flawed and that its outcome could have been tilted by over one million “dead voters.”
In his first official, in-depth admission of how the elections were rigged, Kivuitu said he was under duress to release the poll results.
Speaking on his last day in the dock before South Africa’s retired judge, Johann Kriegler, who is leading an Independent Electoral Review Commission (IREC) to investigate what transpired during the vote, Kivuitu said the elections were rigged.
He said the voters’ register had more than one million dead voters who mysteriously cast their votes in what appears to have been a coordinated strategy between the various political parties and the Electoral Commission of Kenya officers overseeing the polls.
Kivuitu, while admitting the vote rigging was rampant, said that his team had examined the election results and found out that tallying was also massively flawed.
“They (irregularities) are there and they cut across the country,” Kivuitu said in his point blank admission of the rigging that saw Kenya descend into near anarchy and left thousands dead or scarred for life.
Kivuitu was taken to task hours before releasing the presidential election results in December by agents of then opposition candidate Raila Odinga, now Prime Minister, who accused him of releasing results that were largely flawed.
The ECK Chairman admitted that the election results, gathered and tallied across the 210 constituencies, did not march the final tally.
“Anybody can go wrong, only God cannot,” he told IREC’s Assisting Counsel Yohane Masara, who was questioning him on whether the final tally matched.
The electoral review panel, made up of eminent international electoral experts, was constituted in April this year on the strength of the recommendations by the African Union’s Panel of Eminent Personalities, led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
The Annan team, which included Tanzania’s former President Benjamin Mkapa and former South African First Lady Graca Machel, mediated the political settlement which helped to bring Kenya back from the brink of civil war.
The mediation gave birth to the ruling Grand Coalition cabinet in what has been popularised as the ‘Kenyan power-sharing model’ that is currently being crafted for strife-torn Zimbabwe.
In his final submission in the dock, Kivuitu said his team had faced a massive credibility crisis, which he termed as a ‘disaster’ for Kenya.
“From the beginning, when you are considered as untrustworthy, it is a disaster,” he added.
Reports suggest that IREC panel is considering a proposal that has been tabled before the team to disband the ECK, blamed for its mismanagement of the December 2007 elections.
Kivuitu said the team should recommend the entire overhaul of the current voters register and a that new voter registration be carried out within the next two to three months.
“I hope no dead voter can come again after that,” he said.
The ECK chief also pointed an accusing finger at a high-ranking confidant of President Mwai Kibaki of pressurising his office to prematurely release the presidential certificate when the results had not been fully verified to determine who had won.
President Kibaki won a second presidential term on a wafer-thin margin against his rival Odinga, who later toned down on his demand for the Presidency and settled for the premiership after the Annan-mediated talks.