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Was Kenya’s 2013 presidential election free and fair? No, it wasn’t, says study

9 December 2016 - 11:12

By Fred Adongo

Kenya’s 2013 presidential vote emerged as the most fraudulent ballot in an analysis of more than 20 elections from different countries, an American university has found out.

A study of electoral irregularities by the University of Michigan concluded that the level of fraud committed in the 2013 presidential election was enough to alter the electoral outcome.

The paper, ‘Election Forensics: Frauds Tests and Observation-level Frauds Probabilities’, measures vote manipulation done through padding voter turnout numbers, stealing opponents’ votes while also considering the potential for strategic voting by parties. It concludes that as much as 15 per cent of the national presidential vote in the last election had been manipulated.

The study concludes that the anomalies in Kenya’s election was 10 times what could be caused by clerical errors indicating that the manipulation was widespread, deliberate and organised.

“The Kenya election appears to have a high proportion of fraudulent votes,” the study says.

The study goes on to suggest that the requirement that the winner of the presidential ballot obtains votes over a large geographical area motivates the fraud.

The study on the elections applied statistical tests to the reported election data and concluded that between 500,000 votes and 750,000 votes were manipulated.

The same study found that the percentage of election fraud in the Ugandan presidential polls has been reducing, with the 2006 election being more fraudulent than the 2016 ones. It also concludes that the fraud that existed in the Ugandan election occurred on too small a scale to affect the final outcome.

The findings is important for observers interested in watching the integrity of the upcoming 2017 elections, which appear likely to be fought on polarized ethnic platforms in a context of heightened political temperature, uncertainty over the transition at the electoral commission against the backdrop of violence in the aftermath of the 2007 elections. Members of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission are expected to leave office this month under a negotiated political settlement and their replacements to take over before the new year, seven months to the August 8, 2017 General Election. 

 

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