President Uhuru Kenyatta displays the presidential results certificate
issued by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC)
chairman Issack Hassan March 9, 2013. Hassan told US audience Wednesday
technological and other "challenges" experienced in the recent elections
have taught the electoral body lessons it will apply in future polls.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Technological and other "challenges" experienced in the recent
elections have taught the Independent Electoral and Boundaries
Commission (IEBC) lessons it will apply in future polls, the IEBC
chairman told a Washington audience on Wednesday.
Mr. Issack Hassan acknowledged that the commission took too ambitious an approach in managing the voting in March.
He cited widespread breakdowns of electronic voter
identification devices and malfunctioning of the computer system for
"We needed more consultation and testing on a smaller scale" before trying to implement these new technologies, Mr Hassan added.
The IEBC also "had built huge expectations that this is going to work," he noted.
equated the technology with free and fair elections," Mr Hassan
observed, adding, "We need to better manage expectations."
He further acknowledged that some Kenyans "still
have resentment and anger" over the results of the election, with many
of them blaming the IEBC for what they view as an unfair outcome.
"We have been caricatured, called thieves, called corrupt people," he said. "It comes with the territory."
Mr Hassan added with a smile that the chairmanship of the IEBC has been described as a "lonely and thankless" position.
But he also strongly defended the conduct of the voting.
"All reports say the elections were largely credible," Mr Hassan noted. "There was no theft of the election."
In response to a question, he rejected the
findings of an Election Day exit poll conducted by two US political
scientists that showed Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga both receiving
about 40 percent of the vote.
"That exit poll was very surprising to us because
it went against every other poll in the country," Mr Hassan said. He
pointed out that the results of the parliamentary vote were consistent
with the reported results of the presidential vote.
Prof Joel Barkan, a US specialist in Kenyan
politics, noted during the forum held at the International Foundation
for Electoral Systems that the election cost $100 million. And vote
tallies are still not posted on the IEBC website three months after
polling day, Prof Barkan added.
Mr Hassan said in response that the actual cost of
the election was Sh6.8 billion, which is about $80 million at today's
exchange rate. He also promised that the full election results would be
posted online soon.