The National Elections Tallying Centre was launched Friday morning in a colourful ceremony presided over by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan.
This is part of IEBC’s final preparations for the General Elections due on Monday. The polls have drawn massive interest both locally and internationally.
Speaking during the event the IEBC Chairman assured Kenyans and the world that the elections will be free and fair. “The Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission is committed to managing the voting process to ensure it’s free, fair, credible and peaceful. We have the experience and passion to get it right,” he said.
The Centre which is hosted at Bomas of Kenya consists of a Call Centre , Media Centre, the Results display Auditorium and the Tallying Centre.
Both local and international journalists will be able to do their coverage from Bomas and compile their stories at the media centre thanks to the many desktop computers provided for them complete with internet connection. Those with laptops will also enjoy the strong wireless internet connection around Bomas.
Results will be displayed on screens as they come from the poling centers but the confirmed results will be announced by the IEBC chairman.
All the questions regarding the upcoming elections are answered at the Call Centre .The public have the opportunity to call and ask questions and make comments. The centre also acts as an information gathering centre where IEBC officials update the public on the developments in regards to the preparations to the next general elections.
Despite the challenges that come with such a massive national election, Mr. Hassan stressed that the Commission is adequately prepared. “We are happy to report that all ballot papers have been printed and delivered. The ballot boxes and other materials have also been delivered as close as possible to the polling stations. We have accredited 2600 (international) observers 20,000 (domestic) Observers and 5000 media personnel (both local and international).”
He also assured Kenyans that every voters who arrives at the polling station before 5pm will have a chance to vote. “Although we have made efforts to increase the streams or service points at polling stations with high numbers, long queues may not be uncommon. But whatever the hitch, all those who registered and show up to vote will vote.”
While addressing the public, Rev .John Mark of All Saints Cathedral Said that the elections is both a spiritual and physical exercise . “We have to pray for free and fair elections but we must also come out and vote in order to have the results,” he said adding that Kenyans cannot blame each other about the results if they do not do the two important things.
Kenya’s 2013 general elections have attracted a lot of attention because they are being held under a new constitution. The constitution increased the elective positions from three to six. It also ushers in devolved government through County governments.