Nasa man collapses at Bomas amid mistrust between rival teams
Mistrust between the teams representing President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Raila Odinga, the main presidential candidates, reigned at the National Tallying Centre at the Bomas of Kenya in the wee hours on Wednesday.
One of the high points of the dramatic scenes in the auditorium, where the teams had been given special access to a server with forms 34A, was the collapse of Mr Norman Magaya, the head of the National Super Alliance’s secretariat.
There was also a confrontation between Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa and Ms Olga Karani, a member of the Nasa secretariat. Ms Karani accused the lawmaker of taking photographs of Mr Odinga’s team hard at work.
ACCESS TO SERVER
When the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced on Wednesday that the presidential candidates’ agents would be given access to the server on which the forms filled in the constituencies are located, President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga sent their teams.
IEBC chief executive officer Ezra Chiloba told the Nation that the purpose of having the verification team set up on the floor of the auditorium was to avoid a situation such as the one in 2013, where the commission was accused of working suspiciously by having the verification done in another building in the compound.
Members of President Kenyatta’s IT team arrived with their data, according to an IEBC official, and used random sampling, depending on an application to tell which forms should be randomly picked from those available for comparison.
They did not spend much time in the auditorium. They left after having been satisfied that the forms 34A selected randomly tallied with the data their agents had sent them.
Hours later, after the last press conference, around midnight on Wednesday, members of Mr Odinga’s team were hunched over their laptops, sipping coffee and munching snacks provided by businessman Jimi Wanjigi.
It was shortly after the press conference ended and journalists left the auditorium, leaving only a few, that Mr Jomo Gecaga, President Kenyatta’s nephew and private secretary, spoke to Mr Chiloba, expressing concern about the large number of people from Nasa checking the data.
His concern, he told Mr Chiloba, was that the Nasa team was acting suspiciously by having eight people rather than the chief agent and his IT team comparing the data.
He was also under the misguided impression that the team members had plugged their computers into the server.
Mr Chiloba explained that only the IEBC computers were plugged into the server through a router placed in the middle of the floor.
Ms Karani said: “We are feeling intimidated by the presence of Jomo.”
She and other members of the team told Mr Chiloba: “This is not an IEBC process, so let us do our work.”
Mr Magaya was with the team at the time and later went to talk with one of his colleagues in the top row of seats on the right as one enters the auditorium.
Mr Muhoho Kenyatta, President Kenyatta’s brother, had in the meantime arrived and was consulting the Jubilee Party chief agent for the presidential election, Mr Davis Chirchir.
Drama ensued at about 1.15am, when Mr Magaya collapsed and was carried out of the room by two colleagues.
Stunned, the man he had been with told others: “I was just chatting with him when he went down.”
One of the men who carried him out later said the dark patch on the front of his jersey was his own sweat.
After he was carried out, some members of the Jubilee team wondered whether his collapse was a distraction, as something was being done at the desk where the verification was taking place.