Call for Kenyan electoral officers to resign

By Roseleen Nzioka Time of article published Jun 1, 2016

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Nairobi - Embattled Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officials are facing mounting pressure to vacate office and pave the way for new officials ahead of the 2017 general elections in Kenya.

The International Commission of Jurists - Kenya (ICJ Kenya) on Tuesday added their voice to demand that the IEBC officials do the honourable thing and resign from office as they were no longer “credible”.

Addressing a media briefing, ICJ Vice Chairperson Kelvin Mogeni dismissed the government’s proposed parliamentary process to remove the IEBC officers, saying a parliamentary process would be time consuming.

This method, he said, could not guarantee the constitution of a new electoral body before the elections in 2017.

Mogeni said the current electoral body did not have the confidence of the citizens especially because some commissioners were implicated in the “Chicken Gate” scandal that involved a United Kingdom printing firm, Smith and Ouzman, printing the ballot papers in the last general election in 2013.

“The conviction and imprisonment by a British Court of two directors of Smith and Ouzman Company for bribing Kenyan election officials, including IEBC Chair Mr Ahmed Isaak Hassan, commonly known as the Chicken gate scandal, has cast doubts on the integrity of IEBC as an institution and its commissioners to manage elections in Kenya,” said Mogeni.

ICJ said the electoral body was currently faced with challenges regarding its credibility, independence and capacity to deliver credible, free and fair elections in Kenya and had failed to inspire confidence in its independence in dealing with political parties.

Other problems cited by ICJ included the report of the Auditor General dated June 6, 2014, on the procurement of Electronic Voter Devices for use in the 2013 elections which exposed serious gaps in the procurement processes; the management of the 2013 elections including the existence of multiple voter registers, and failures surrounding the adoption and use of technology in the elections.

All these, ICJ said, cast “reasonable doubt on IEBC’s capacity and integrity in management of the 2017 elections. Further, the low voter turnout reported in the recent voter registration exercise is symptomatic of voter apathy and expressed in numerous public opinion polls that further demonstrate a lack of public confidence”.

In the past three weeks, protests have been held in various parts of the country calling for the removal and/or resignation of IEBC commissioners, with some protests leading to the loss of life.

The opposition party called off the Monday protests to give dialogue a chance.

ICJ’s call for the election officials to resign come just a day after about 50 legislators from both the ruling party Jubilee and the Opposition met on Monday and agreed that all stakeholders would hold a series of consultative meetings to come up with proposals on how to reform the electoral body.

The legislators agreed to ensure comprehensive electoral and institutional reforms would be established before the general election set for August 2017.

– African News Agency

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