Election results to come within hours
Kenyans will start getting the results of the March 4 General Election one-and-a-half hours after voting closes at 5pm.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission said on Monday it will start announcing the presidential results before those of the other five elective positions.
The polls body will use an Electronic Results Transmission System which will make it possible for the vote counts to be relayed directly from polling stations to three tallying centres located at the constituency, county and national levels.
With just 27 days to the elections, the IEBC demonstrated how presidential, governor and senate election results will be transmitted from the polling stations to the respective tallying centres where they will be compiled and announced.
The commission has adopted a three-tier relay system with presidential results being transmitted directly from polling stations to the national tallying centre at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi.
IEBC information technology officer Isaiah Lang’at on Monday took journalists through the steps at the Bomas of Kenya and assured Kenyans that results will be relayed on time to avoid raising tensions.
“As soon as tallying is completed, the results will start trickling in at 6.30pm. The results will go to a specific server,” he said.
He was flanked by the commission’s communications official, Mr Andrew Limo.
IEBC chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan said the final outcome of the presidential race could be known 48 hours after the closure of the voting.
“We have told our presiding officers that once people cast their votes for the six ballots, they will begin by counting presidential ballot papers and thereafter transmit the results so that Kenyans can see them in real time,” he said.
However, Mr Lang’at said that by law, the commission has seven days within which it is required to announce the results.
Results for candidates vying for positions of governor, senator and county women’s representative will be relayed directly from special mobile handsets by returning officers to the county tallying centres while those of MP and county assembly representatives will be sent to constituency tallying centres.
At the Bomas of Kenya where the national tallying centre will be situated, the auditorium was being spruced up.
General manager Quresh Ahmed said it will be partitioned into 10 different rooms.
Four huge screens will be installed in the oval hall to beam results of the six positions being contested in the elections.
All polling stations are expected to be opened at 6am and closed by 5pm to allow presiding officers to start the counting exercise in the presence of party agents.
Once satisfied, they will use specially programmed mobile phones to key in the results from the forms and relay them simultaneously to the IEBC headquarters for consolidation and to the tallying centres at the constituency, county and national levels.
That notwithstanding, the paper forms bearing results for MPs and county assembly representatives will be ferried to the constituency tallying centre for final compilation, while those for governor, senator and county women’s representatives will be transported to the county tallying centre.
Presidential results will be announced at the Bomas of Kenya, while those of governor, senator and county women’s representatives will be announced at respective counties.
Returning officers at the constituency tallying centres will announce the results for MPs and county assembly representatives.
Mobile service provider Safaricom’s network will be used to transmit the results from the polling stations to the various tallying centres.
On Monday, Safaricom technicians were erecting a mast at the Bomas of Kenya to boost the transmission of the results.
Media houses will be given space to put outside broadcasting equipment.
They will be given a link to the IEBC server for the transmission of the results.
The commission has set up mobile numbers 0711 035 606 and 0711 035 616 for the public to call in case of questions.
As the IEBC went ahead with its preparations, presidential candidates upped their campaigns to rally voters behind their bid to succeed President Kibaki.
Cord’s Raila Odinga embarked on a three-day campaign in Nyanza by staging several rallies in Kisii where he claimed that some of his rivals were plotting to rig the elections.
His running mate, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, was also in the same region, toured different market centres.
The Jubilee team was in Kiambu County, rallying voters behind Mr Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate, Mr William Ruto.
Amani’s Musalia Mudavadi held a strategic meeting for the final plan of his campaigns at his party headquarters.
Assistant minister Peter Kenneth, the Eagle coalition flag-bearer, was in Nyamira county where he criticised his rivals for making promises which they cannot fulfil.
Narc Kenya torch-bearer Martha Karua toured Bungoma County, urging voters to scrutinise past records of her opponents before casting their votes on March 4.