Businessman SK Macharia appears before Senate during a hearing on election laws on January 3, 2017. PHOTO DENNIS ONSONGO.
ODM leader was short-changed in 2007 polls: Macharia
A representative of media owners has claimed that ODM leader Raila Odinga was short-changed in the 2007 General Election that plunged the country into chaos.
Royal Media Services owner S.K. Macharia said former President Mwai Kibaki, who was declared the winner, did not emerge top as per the records of how Kenyans voted during that hotly contested poll.
“The one who was declared the winner in 2007 was not the winner. We have evidence since, as media owners, we tracked all the results through satellite phones,” said Mr Macharia.
He spoke during a public hearing at the Senate Chamber in Nairobi over the contentious election laws passed by MPs on December 22 last year.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto were among prominent Kenyan leaders who ended up at the International Criminal Court over the post-election violence.
However, their cases were later dropped due to inadequate evidence.
UPHOLD ELECTION CREDIBILITY
Mr Macharia, who underscored the importance of an electronic system to uphold election credibility, said the results were being tracked through satellite phones.
He said in 2013, media houses were disadvantaged because they solely relied on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) tallying centre to relay election results.
Mr Macharia said he will track the 2017 polls. He said if the IEBC or the government tries to block him, he will move to court to seek orders against the move.
According to Mr Macharia, the Constitution provides for freedom of the media, which cannot be taken away by the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill.
The aftermath of the disputed results was violence that left 1,200 people dead and more than 350,000 others displaced, before Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga agreed to share power to calm down the deadly political tension.
During the sitting that included Attorney-General Githu Muigai, Mr Macharia spoke of how he went out of his way to convince Mr Kibaki to push for a pure presidential system of governance.
Perhaps realising that his sentiments were sensitive and might cause an uproar, Mr Macharia said he was ready to take personal responsibility for what he says, which other media owners might not agree with.
He said the manual register should be made available at every polling station, for dealing with isolated genuine cases.
“I agree wholly that a manual register should be at every polling station, but not used 100 per cent,” he said.
Mr Macharia said a report by the IEBC indicates that there was confusion regarding the 2013 register. He added that the country has a duty to adopt best practices that can guarantee Kenyans a credible election.
He said satellites can be used in areas not covered by mobile phone networks.
In its presentation earlier, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) supported a manual backup, saying 22 per cent of the country is not covered by the 3G network that is required to transmit results electronically, meaning that some eligible voters might be locked out.
CAK director, Human Capital and Administration, Juma Kandie said although satellite technology is an alternative, the system cannot be installed before the next General Election due to stringent procurement and installation procedures.
Source; Daily Nation