The prospect of declaring presidential results spilling over to next week spiraled on Saturday as the verification exercise began to take its toll on poll officials.
At Bomas National Tallying Centre, weary poll officials working in shifts went line by line the tens of Forms 34B from the constituencies against the thousands of Forms 34A entries at the polling stations.
By dusk on Saturday and after two days and two nights of verification, the officials had only verified results from 114 constituencies of the 290 in the country.
About 250 constituencies had transmitted their results by the time of going to press.
Physical results Returning Officers carrying physical results from the constituencies kept trickling into Bomas in droves with tight security in tow.
They made four copies of their materials before joining the verification queue.
“The latest I see this process ending is Monday or so. We have learned our lessons from the previous process and we cannot leave anything to chance,” a senior poll official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.
On arrival at Bomas, returning officers were handed reception registration cards. They then proceeded to make the relevant copies.
That in and of itself took time depending on the number of polling stations a constituency has.
For instance, Mwala Constituency, which returned 213 Forms 34A from its 213 polling stations, had to churn out 852 photocopies for the verification to start.
And when it did start, the clerks had to go through each entry on Form 34B, checking it against the relevant Form 34A.
Any mistakes on the entries were simply noted but not corrected. Poll officials said decisions of the High Court, Court of Appeal and more recently the guidance of the Supreme Court forbid them from changing even a coma.
Once verified, the returning officer took up their materials to the main podium for the official hand-over to the National Returning Officer, Wafula Chebukati.
Once he received them, he signed them off for official broadcast through the NTC portal.
With that done, the returning officer was presented with a clearance form after which they were free to roam around or get back to their work stations.
The entries would then be added onto the humongous Form 34C, which listed all results from all polling stations.
The verification process for the August 8 elections was not that elaborate.
In retrospect, it was based on misunderstanding of the Court of Appeal decision in the Maina Kiai versus Others case, which affirmed that the national returning officer had no role in alteration of results.
Crucial process “Verification is ongoing and it’s a crucial process in accordance with the Constitution and the Supreme Court court judgment.
We must go through all Form 34B’s and compare them with 34A’s to enable us make Form 34C. All this is important for the final declaration of the results,” Chebukati told the media.
By Saturday, the commission had not announced the date for fresh election in 25 constituencies.
Commissioner Abdi Guliye refused to indicate whether the commission will wait on these constituencies to do their vote before Uhuru Kenyatta is declared winner.
He reiterated the commission has seven days within which to announce presidential results. He said the decision of declaration will be made “when we get there.”
The seven-day constitutional deadline for declaring a winner lapses on Thursday next week.
Adopted from The Standard