Magic number to break tight State House contest

Written by on 12 August 2022

Azimio flagbearer Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto — the two leading contenders in this year’s presidential race, were last night locked in a neck-and-neck race to bag at least 7,082,280 votes.

First of the two to bag this magic number can consider himself president-elect. This is the number that translates to the 50 per cent plus one vote required for one to be declared president. By yesterday evening, both were about 600,000 votes shy of that magic number.

The number is based on the 14,164,561 voters that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati said had cast their ballots and their details had been captured by the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (KIEMS) kits.

Yesterday, however, Chebukati said there were some voters in western Kenya and parts of Ukambani who had been allowed to vote manually after the digital kits failed to identify them. By the close of voting, however, the kits had been repaired and the results from the affected areas were transmitted electronically.

This could slightly modify the total number of voters who will eventually be recorded as having cast their ballots on Tuesday.

Monitoring at home  

The number also excludes voters who cast their ballots in Eldas constituency on Wednesday after violence interrupted voting in the region.

Both Raila and Ruto were yesterday reported to have been closely following the numbers as they grew by the day.

Sources in UDA said Ruto spent the better part of yesterday at his official residence in Karen, Nairobi, monitoring the results relayed from his presidential vote tallying centre and various television stations. With him were his running mate, Rigathi Gachagua and Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi and a few allies.

Raila on the other hand made a brief appearance at the Royal Media Services studios off Dennis Pritt Road in Nairobi for an undisclosed business. The station has a tallying centre for the presidential election from where it has been tallying its data.

Its results last evening showed Raila and Ruto in a close race separated by about 50,000 votes with Raila ahead.

Among those who accompanied Raila was Central Organisation of Trade Unions Secretary-General Francis Atwoli.

As at the time of going to press, various media platforms had tallied the results based on Forms 34As as transmitted to the public portal, with most tallies showing a neck-to-neck race between the two contenders.

Citizen TV for instance showed Raila holding a marginal lead at 6.47 million votes over Ruto who was closing in at 6.42 million votes.

KTN showed Ruto enjoying a narrow lead at 6.48 million votes against Raila’s 6.47 million.

Addressing the media at the Bomas of Kenya, Chebukati announced that due to the tedious process of verifying the Forms 34A against Forms 34B received from the 290 constituencies, the final declaration of the presidential results will be made today or tomorrow.

Seven days

Last night, he announced the first result, from Webuye East constituency in which Ruto was ahead with 16,412 votes against Raila’s 13,720.

George Wajackoyah polled 249 and David Mwaure Waihiga 110 votes.

“Although the law allows announcing the results within seven days after the election, we shall endeavour to conclude this exercise at the earliest possible time and announce the winner,” said Chebukati during one of his regular media and public briefings.

Going by the laborious process of the verification of the 46,229 Forms 34A, it is estimated that the process could be completed by either tomorrow or Sunday.

Chebukati revealed that collating, and announcement of results in a majority of the constituencies had been completed and Returning Officers had started to physically deliver forms 34A and 34B to the National Tallying Centre at Bomas.

He explained that all results including those in areas that used the manual voter register in Makueni County (Kibwezi West Constituency) for 84 polling stations and Kakamega County (Malava, Matungu, Mumias West and Mumias East) constituencies for the 154 polling stations had all been transmitted electronically.

“Results transmission of the Form 34A from the polling stations is ongoing which is at 99.82 per cent from 46,146 of the 46,229 polling stations,” said Chebukati.

Though he commended the media for tallying the presidential election results independently, he said only the commission had the power to make the final announcement and declaration of presidential results.

“(This) will be done by the Presidential Returning Officer,” said Chebukati.

All the 290 Constituency Returning Officers have submit their forms before a winner of the presidential election can be declared.

At Bomas, the commission will verify the results to ensure they meet the constitutional threshold of 50 per cent plus one vote. It will also check if the candidates have garnered at least a quarter of all voters cast in half of the 47 counties.

Once it certifies that the winning candidate has fulfilled the legal requirements, it then gives him a certificate to declare him president-elect”.

All the candidates in the presidential race are male but three have a woman as running mate.

Any of the candidates who feels the results were not tallied correctly is required by law to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Commissioner Abdi Guliye — who is in charge of the tallying — explained that if there are any errors in the results, an error report will be generated and this will be presented to the Supreme Court in case of a poll petition.

“It is the right of any aggrieved Kenyan to go to court,” he said. “We have been open and transparent in all our processes. Perhaps this is the reason why we have seen some candidates already conceding. This is the first time we see such concessions from those who have lost. We hope the trend will continue up to the presidential level.”

But for a winner to be declared, he has to be the first to hit that magic number of 50 per cent plus one vote.

Reader's opinions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Current track