International Relations expert, Dr Ziblim Iddi, suspects that the Campaign Manager of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) during the 2016 elections was recently refused entry into Kenya as an elections observer because of his expertise in the electronic voting system.
Dr Iddi, who is also MP for Gushegu in the Northern Region, says Mr Peter Mac Manu’s expertise, coupled with the fact that he was arriving in Kenya on the invitation of the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) may have caused fear in the camp of the ruling Jubilee Party, led by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Kenya is adopting the electronic transmission of votes in this year’s elections following key electoral reforms that begun after chaotic elections five years ago.
“The fear of somebody coming in and giving an advantage to [Uhuru Kenyatta’s] opponent as far as the electoral process is concerned probably would have motivated that unfortunate incident,” he said on PM Express, a current affairs programme on the Joy News channel on Multi TV.
Kenyan authorities last week denied Mr. Mac Manu entry into the country to lead a team of election observers from the Democratic Union of Africa (DUA) ahead of Tuesday’s polls.
It has been speculated that the former campaign manager was refused entry into the east African country because he is an honorary chairman of DUA, which is an umbrella body of centre-right parties in Africa.
Speaking on PM Express, Dr Iddi suggests that the fear that the new system of electronic transmission of election results could be tampered by someone as experienced in the system as Mr Mac Manu could equally be a reason why he was denied entry.
“With electronic transmission things happen, even in advanced democracies, they do. And so for the sitting President and his party, they were really afraid that if somebody comes in and he has a background in electronic transmission and he is coming in as a guest of the opposition, I think that was not something they would accommodate,” he surmised.
He adds that the “electronic system of voting advances [the] electoral process, but is also open for abuse.”
But he thinks the Kenyan authorities made a wrong judgement call – one that could affect Ghana-Kenyan relation.
“I am not sure Mac Manu was going there with ill-motive. I don’t know what intelligence they had about him. He went there as a representative of the International Democratic Union, which he chairs.
“We would wait and see after the election if they will come back and apologise,” he said.
Kenyatta tipped to win
Another guest on the nightly show, Dr. Etsey Sikanku, tipped Uhuru Kenyatta to win the elections that many say would be determined by ethnic considerations.
Dr. Sikanku believes that President Kenyatta’s Kikuyu tribe – the country’s biggest ethnic group – will push the President towards a second term.