Opinion / Commentaries
Monday, 27 Mar 2017 15:57 EATlmakena@kenyafreepress.com
With less than four months before the general elections, there are concerns on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission's preparedness to conduct free, fair and credible elections. And the IEBC appears to admit its unpreparedness when it says the challenges that the commission is facing ahead of the general elections are related to court cases over ballot papers and procurement of key equipment. Of all the major plans, only voter registration has been completed, netting 19.7 million registered voters.
The Kenya Integrated Electoral Management System, a requirement to integrate the voter register, voter identification on voting day and results transmission, is yet to be rolled out. Last Friday, IEBC announced that it had contracted Safran of France to supply electoral management system after cancelling the tender to another firm Gemalto SA also of France.
Following the unfolding setbacks in IEBC, leaders have started expressing their fears. Speaking on Sunday during a series of Jubilee Party rallies in Bumula Constituency, Bungoma governor Ken Lusaka said that IEBC should not be in a hurry to conduct “sham elections” but should work to deliver credible polls which will satisfy every Kenyan. “Not that we are not ready for our opponents, but we want IEBC to take time and carry out credible elections but not to hurry and conduct elections which may plunge the country into chaos,'' said Mr Lusaka.
The commission has not awarded a contract for the printing of ballot papers. Its vice chairperson Consolata Nkatha says that court cases over the procurement of ballot papers, tendering for a reputable firm to audit the final register and procurement of integrated electoral equipment were hampering the commission's work.
“We are waiting and hoping that the verdict of the court will be positive. We as the commission are on top of things and we want to ensure that elections are held on August 8,” the Nation quoted her saying. In addition, Kenyans don't as yet have a final electoral law, since the National Assembly has not approved the final draft of the elections regulations the commission presented to them.
Kenyans are eager to have peaceful elections and therefore IEBC should shore up its efforts to ensure the polls go on as planned. Politicians on their part should embrace a peaceful campaign period and wait for the Election Day expecting IEBC to deliver credible elections that will satisfy every Kenyan.
IEBC should not betray Kenyans aware that the opposition held relentless street protests which led to the new team appointed headed by Wanyonyi Wafula Chebukati. With a guaranteed free, fair and credible elections it will be the duty of Kenyans to choose a leader who will make a difference, one who will serve this nation in the right way.