A member of the public surrenders after being confronted by the police. PHOTO/COURTESY
By OUR REPORTER
Journalists should not be intimidated by a warning from ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, on the release of election results, a coalition of civil societies has said.
Kura Yangu, Sauti Yangu (KYSY), a coalition of civil societies said the courts ruled that results declared at the polling station and constituency level were final and journalists should not be intimidated from announcing them or projecting likely winners based on these results.
“Results declared at the polling stations are final and journalists have a constitutional right to announce the declared and posted results at the polling stations as provided for by the law,” Mr Njonjo Mue said.
Controversy has engulfed announcing of election results and specifically presidential results by the media before they are declared by IEBC.
However, as things stand journalists and media houses will have details of results announced at polling stations from different constituencies and they can use such results to project any candidate who is likely to win or is leading.
However, Mr Mucheru has warned media houses that they risk losing their licenses if they release election results before the IEBC has done so.
Mr Njonjo Mue. PHOTO/COURTESY
But Mr Mue says the warning by the ICT cabinet Secretary is misplaced and against international elections best practices and standards concerning release of election results.
“The media globally is allowed to project likely or possible winners in elections based on initial results or even exit polls,” he said.
Mr Mue also took issue with police’s hardline position over voters hanging around polling stations after voting saying their constitutional rights were being breached.
“The Constitution has not been suspended and voters have a right to public participation and police should allow people to assemble peacefully outside polling stations or anywhere else,” he said.
Mr Mucheru, who was speaking at Ngangarithi AIPCA church in Nyeri County, warned that media houses will face prosecution for releasing results that have not been officially announced by an IEBC official.
“The law is very clear that only the IEBC can release election results, if anyone releases results before that, they will be shut down,” Mr Mucheru said.
Media houses and the opposition coalition, National Super Alliance (NASA), have set up tallying centres to have their own record.
Mr Mucheru however noted that media houses can have their own tallying centres, but the final results will be those from the electoral body.
Ms Gladwell Otieno of Kura Yangu coalition notes that the pre-election period has been marked by a clear lack of respect for constitutional standards of integrity, public participation and public expression.
Gladwell Otieno. Speaking when she announced that Kura yangu, Sauti Yangu coalition had
“On a technical level, KYSY has identified and assessed problems with legal reform, compressed timelines, procurement processes, voter registration and the register of voters, party primaries, lack of clarity with regard to laws and regulations and rising insecurity,” she said.
The coalition said the State’s increasing attempts to unconstitutionally control and restrict public questioning of electoral preparedness as well as public scrutiny of the electoral process reveals a worrying lack of respect for the sovereignty of the voter.
“KYSY finds that the weaknesses of the pre-election period have severely compromised the integrity and credibility of the electoral process thus far,” Ms Otieno said.
The coalition announced that it has established an Election Center at the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) offices to monitor 2017 elections.
They also questioned the printing of more than 1.2 million extra ballot papers adding the move lacked transparency and had raised suspicions.
You can either BECOME A SPONSOR or MAKE A CONTRIBUTION
Nelson Mandela once said: “A critical, independent, and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy. The press must be free from state interference. It must have the economic strength to stand up to the blandishments of government officials. It must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and inquiring without fear or favor. It must enjoy the protection of the constitution, so that it can protect our rights as citizens.”
If you like our journalism support us to continue bringing you groundbreaking and agenda setting stories.