How Raila Odinga’s Presidency Was Stolen: Part 1
On Thursday, December 27, 2007, the voting process in Kenya went on without major problems save for a few hitches here and there. Raila was himself faced with a situation where he couldn’t vote because his name was missing from the voter’s register at his Lang’ata Constituency. But after Kivuitu intervened, Raila was able to vote. Throughout the voting process, there was no huge documentation of cases where voters could not cast their votes or where circumstances made it difficult or impossible for the voting process to proceed. However, there are several reports to the effect that ODM Party agents, local and International observers were blocked from entering polling stations. In 42 constituencies, “presiding officers at polling stations refused to make Form 16A available for signature by agents verifying counting” while at some polling stations, ODM agents were not allowed to enter. 377 There were cases in which fake ballot papers were intercepted by Wananchi as candidates tried to smuggle them into the official ballot boxes.
A key example is the case of Kajiado North where the brother of Professor George Saitoti, former Vice President in Moi’s government, had to be shielded by police from angry voters who claimed that he was caught red-handed trying to smuggle votes into the voting room. On the whole, the voting process was passed by local and international observers as having been smooth by democratic standards. Some Kenyans began to line up at the polling stations as early as three AM. After the votes were cast and Kenyans retreated to their homes to begin following the tallying process and announcement of results, trepidation set in especially when it became clear that election was being rigged in favour of Kibaki and his PNU Party. The results were being communicated live on TV and some of the scenes that were witnessed at KICC strongly pointed to the fact that something had gone terribly wrong. But how exactly was Raila’s Presidency stolen before the very eyes of Kenyans and the international community?
According to a compilation of irregularities by an ODM investigative Committee, (378) local observers, (379) international election monitors and independent groups that were also monitoring the process, there were several cases of shocking irregularities. For example, Constituency results were not physically brought in at the tallying centre at KICC, returning officers were threatened against making results, signatures of Party agents were missing from relevant documents such as Form16A, returning officers completed the forms at KICC while there were cases where results were announced at KICC when tallying was still going on at the Constituency. (380) Ms Koki Muli, who led a team of local observers and who testified at the Kriegler Commission, told the Commission that she saw ECK officials changing figures and added that “Some returning officers arrived and were allowed to fill in official forms to align them with figures that had been announced.”(381) Further, “She (Muli) said that she witnessed presentation of photocopies of Form 16A, which were readily accepted by the ECK contrary to regulations which stipulates that only original forms filled by all agents are acceptable… She said some of the returning officers arrived at the national tallying centre without documents and their explanation was that they had handed them over to district electoral cocoordinators.(382)
In some cases, Form 16A that was being sent from polling stations were either unsigned or signed by the same person using the same pen.(383) Another glaring observation was that results that were announced at the Constituency and that were recorded by ODM agents were different from those that were announced at KICC by ECK officials.(384) In several other cases, the Presidential ballot was higher than the Parliamentary ballot,(385) an indication that results had been tampered with. In some cases, the final results were thousands more than the valid votes registered as having been cast.(386) As had been outlined in the previous chapter, results contained in Form 16A are supposed to be the same as those in Form 17A but in many situations, this was not the case. In certain dramatic cases, Form 16A could not be traced even though results from affected Constituencies had already been announced by ECK at KICC.(387) When stakeholders began to ask questions, returning officers simply disappeared when asked about irregularities related to results they are supposed to have filed.(388) In the most serious cases, Form 16A was altered and votes inflated in favour of Kibaki.(389)
Available documents from ECK, ODM, Election observer groups and other parties indicate that the biggest rigging took place at Juja polling station number 100 where 52,097 votes were added to Kibaki’s votes by ECK officials who altered Form 16A dated December 28, 2007, that was delivered by Returning Officer Watson Mahinda at the Constituency level and indicated that Kibaki had received 48,293 votes.(390) This is the same figure ODM agents recorded at the Constituency before the figure was publicly announced there. The Mahinda Report, which is signed by Mahinda himself, contains a long list of provisional results for both Presidential and Parliamentary candidates.(391)
A careful scrutiny of Form 16A that were used to rig the Juja vote could give a clue about the internal mechanism of the rigging machine by ECK officials at KICC and shed some light on how the stealing of Raila’s Presidency was organized and implemented before Kibaki was secretly installed as President. The original Juja results in the original Form 16A that came from the Constituency were received at KICC by Agnes Kisero (ID no. 6057692) who acknowledged their receipt by signing for them at 5.30 PM sharp.(392)
When these results arrived at KICC, a new Form 16A was issued by ECK officials and Kibaki’s votes was inflated from 43,290 to 100,390 after which the same official, Watson Mahinda (ID No. 3346925), allegedly signed the altered form.(393) Mahinda’s telephone number on the altered form was given as 0728458093. A key difference in details contained in the two forms is that after Form 16A was altered to show that Kibaki got 100,390 votes which was announced by ECK, a different ECK official named Catherine W. Mburu is the person whose name appears as the officer who “received” the results.(394). Other key differences are that the name “Mahinda” which appears on the original Form 16A at Juja, is miss-spelt to read “Mahiga”, the signature is overtly different in the two forms while the altered form is hand-written as opposed to the original form which is computer generated. What this shows is that ECK officials were consciously collaborating to rig elections by internally receiving results after they had been handed over by returning officers with the sole objective of changing them. In the case of Juja, it could be safe to conclude that the ECK officer who may have altered the results in Kibaki’s favour was Catherine W. Mburu because there is no other logical explanation as to why figures, changes in spelling of the name of the Juja Returning Officer and an alteration of Mahinda’s signature in the Juja Form 16A became apparent after it was handled by her. Although the original Form 16A submitted by Mahinda indicate that the results were signed at KICC on December 27, 2007, at 5.30 PM, the time and date changed to 8.30 AM and December 28, 2007, respectively when a new Form 16A was issued and received by Catherine Mburu. After the first results were received for this Constituency, ECK officials had more than fifteen hours to change the results which was then announced!
Another interesting difference is that at the bottom of the original Form 16A signed by Mahinda, information exists to the effect that the form was printed on December 28, 2007, a day after the ballot was cast. In the altered Form 16A signed by Catherine, the date when the form was printed is December 26, 2007, a day before elections and two days before the Mahinda form was printed. A big question that has to be posed is why ECK officials at the tallying centre had Form 16A in their custody and where they got them because their work had nothing to do with entering results in Form 16A after voting but dealing with results after they were submitted from the Constituency. Where did they get these forms? The implication is that the forms that ECK officials were using to manipulate figures in Kibaki’s favour were printed BEFORE elections and what can be logically deduced from this glaring discrepancy is that the rigging at KICC might have been planned or anticipated. In the same manipulation at Juja, Raila’s votes were increased by 7,671, that is, from 6,081 to 13,752 votes. The increase in Raila’s votes was of no significance as Kibaki’s votes had been increased sevenfold. In the case of Juja, both the Presiding Officer and the Returning Officer refused to avail Form 16A to ODM agents at KICC while they also refused to avail copies of these forms at the Constituency as stipulated by law. I wish to argue that the reason why ECK officials refused to follow the law by refusing to avail Form 16A to ODM agents is that they were privy to or were aware that elections were going to be rigged and availing the forms could have worked against this objective.
In Embakasi, Presidential votes cast were more than the total number of Parliamentary votes cast. Total Presidential votes cast was 141,125 while total Parliamentary votes cast was 103,570. According to ODM’s results recorded by ODM agents, observers and other sources at Embakasi constituency which was also publicly announced, Kibaki got 34,821 votes which were inflated by ECK at the constituency level to 72,376 395 votes which were later released by ECK at KICC. Here, Raila’s votes stood at 50,001 which was announced at both the constituency and at KICC. In other words, Raila defeated Kibaki at Embakasi but ECK overturned this result to give Kibaki the lead. An ODM investigative Committee Report on Election rigging indicated that a total of 37,555 votes were added to Kibaki’s votes. The argument is that it is unlikely that over 37,000 voters could have turned up to vote at the Presidential level and not at the Parliamentary level because, according to regulations, both votes are supposed to be cast at the same time.
The same pattern of rigging was used at Nithi where 29,348 votes were added to Kibaki’s votes from 66,345 (396) to 95,693. (397) In this case, the returning officer refused to avail Form 16A to ODM agents at the close of polling and counting(398) and this was understandable given the huge number of votes that had been stolen and added to Kibaki to give him victory. It is instructive that this same case of rigging was emotionally alluded to by Henry Kosgey at the press briefing room at KICC. Kosgey asked Kivuitu how 66,000 votes could suddenly turn to 95,000 (399) after passing through the ECK’s tallying room but Kivuitu opted not to respond directly to the question. At this same Constituency, the total Presidential votes cast was 99,006, a figure that exceeded the total number of Parliamentary votes, which stood at 95,981. To give Kibaki an advantage, 3,025 votes were added to Kibaki’s votes on top of the total votes cast. (400). To be continued…
Raila Odinga’s Stolen Presidency: pages 279-283: Excerpts from Chapter Sixteen: “How Raila Odinga’s Presidency was Stolen”