The National Super Alliance’s parallel vote tallying centre is ready for testing next week.
Interviews with some of those charged with setting it up revealed that the political group will on Thursday relay mock results in real time from 20 selected counties in a build-up to the General Election.
Individuals recruited in the “adopt a polling station” initiative will directly interact with the national office for the first time since they signed contracts a fortnight ago.
Orange Democratic Movement presidential candidate Raila Odinga, his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka and the other three Nasa co-principals Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Wetang’ula and Isaac Ruto are expected to be taken through how it will work by a team of local and foreign experts from Germany and South Africa in Nairobi’s Runda area.
A member of the team at the centre of the preparations hinted that to ensure the system is able to withstand attacks from cyber terrorists, they had procured services of known hacking sites to gauge its integrity and resilience last week. The source said they are satisfied it will fit the bill.
Alongside its nationwide campaigns, Nasa considers the assembling of the equipment the pinnacle of its push to dislodge President Uhuru Kenyatta from power in an election already shrouded in suspicion with Mr Odinga stating he will not accept the outcome if in their judgement the process is flawed.
To stoke further anxiety, the former Prime Minister has in the past ruled out the option of challenging such results in the courts in what piles more pressure on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to deliver credible elections.
On Saturday, Mr Mudavadi who is also the head of National Campaign Committee told the Nation that as far as the tallying centre is concerned, they were good to go.
“The centre is as good as ready,” he said adding they will pitch tent in Nyamira on Sunday to drum up support for the Nasa coalition.
Sources told the Nation that the Nasa leadership had prioritised Nyamira following murmurs of discontent from the locals who felt that the opposition chief was taking their support for granted at a time when Jubilee is pulling all stops to penetrate the region.
On Monday, Nasa will be in Homa Bay, which hosted President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto last Wednesday.
Mr Mudavadi will lead the Nasa brigade back to Western Kenya counties on Tuesday and Wednesday before converging with his colleagues in Kitui on Thursday. They will then head to Mr Ruto’s North Rift backyard at the weekend.
Mr Kenyatta and his deputy will on the other hand be taking their campaigns to the coast starting Sunday.
They will be in Mombasa and Kilifi on Sunday. They are also scheduled to address rallies in Lamu, Taita Taveta, Isiolo and Mandera after cancelling a number of political engagements to attend the burials of Interior and Coordination of National Government Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery on Saturday and Senator GG Kariuki on Friday.
Nasa believes that the parallel vote tallying system which heavily borrows from the one used by Ghana’s opposition New Patriotic Party to guard its votes and tabulate results which propelled Mr Nana Akufo-Addo to the seat of power is the panacea to “historical electoral injustices which have been meted out on our candidate in the last two elections”.
On December 9 last year, Joy FM, a popular Radio station in Ghana’s capital Accra relayed the final results showing Mr Addo as the winner even before the electoral agency officially announced the results.
The station relied on internal parallel tallying system to get the results which were eventually confirmed by the electoral commission.
Mr Odinga is on the record saying that Nasa will employ the voter monitoring and transmission strategy employed by Ghana’s NPP to defeat Mr John Mahama, markedly the first time an incumbent president had been defeated in democratic elections in Ghana.
Early this year, Nasa dispatched a team of top party leadership and consultants to Accra to learn how NPP rolled out its system from the polling stations, about 29,000 of them to the national tallying centre.
And against a barrage of speculation that they were setting up an arm of the centre in Tanzania in an attempt to reduce chances of data loss in case the one in the country is compromised, Mr Odinga insists they have no such plans.
“The fact is that Nasa will do parallel tallying of its votes and we shall do it from here in Kenya where Jubilee also did it in 2013. It is absolutely legal and it is the norm in all jurisdictions that value free, fair and credible elections,” he said last month.
Naturally, he would not admit existence of such a plan even if it were the case since doing so would not only set such a country on a collision path with Kenya but may also project him as being unpatriotic in the public eye.
Driven by fear that the government may turn off Internet access on election day in the event the use of social media may pose threat to national security Nasa has imported satellite phones.
While there are founded concerns by institutions like The National Cohesion and Integration Commission and Interior Ministry that social media poses the greatest threat to peace ahead of elections, equally founded is the fear that such may be abused by the powers to control information flow during the elections.
The Nation has also established that even though they have not publicised plans of setting up a similar system like their main challengers, Jubilee is also putting final touches to a voter-relaying system with the former CS Davies Chirchir being the main man behind it.
“Everyone has a right to ensure votes are not rigged, but not allowed to announce wrong results and declare himself President. IEBC must be allowed to do its work,” Jubilee Party vice chairman David Murathe said.
He said this was not a new phenomenon to them since they used it in the 2013 polls. The party set its base to monitor the results at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa in Langata, Nairobi.