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Raila: The Centralised Election System is the Problem

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Opposition leader Raila Odinga wants the IEBC dispensed, and replaced with a decentralized, county-based regional system like that of the US.

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While speaking at the 14th edition of the Leadership Annual Conference and Awards in Abuja, Nigeria, on Tuesday, Raila said that the centralized national elections management system is the problem. He argues that with a county-based electoral system, there is a higher chance of conducting transparent and credible elections.

He also proposed that political parties need to be allowed to second their members to be part of the electoral agency.

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“There is always the question of centralization of election management. Do we need one electoral body to manage our elections or should election management be devolved to the state regions or counties as in the case of the United States? Should parties be allowed to second their members to the election management bodies? My answer to these two questions is yes,” said Raila.

Raila also pinpointed concerns concerning the adoption of technology during elections, arguing that they have been compromised.

“There is a need to rethink the use of technology. Either we adopt reliable election technology, including voting machines that generate a voter-verifiable audit trail, so voters can confirm that their choices are being recorded accurately, or we go fully manual,” Raila said.

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He further argued that the current electoral laws in place have not effectively protected the integrity of elections in Kenya.

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Photo/Courtesy: Raila Odinga, Azimio la Umoja party leader

“Existing electoral laws are not seen to assemble an election system that people believe is transparent, accountable, and democratic. There is, therefore, a need for further reforms to make the voting process more accessible and reliably enhance protection against mistakes, irregularities, confusion, and fraud,” he said.

According to Raila, the supreme court ruled that the August 2022 polls met the standards of integrity, security, and verifiability but he does not reckon what criteria they used to validate their ruling.

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He insists that if the issues that arose during the 2022 polls are not dealt with effectively, there will be a high risk of voter apathy in the 2027 elections.

The opposition team has plans to hold meetings on Sunday in Kibra, and next Friday in Mavoko, in a bid to solicit the Current Kenya Kwanza government to involve them in constituting the IEBC.

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