Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Thursday, 21 Sep 2017 18:11 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has pushed ahead Presidential repeat election by nine days. The poll as ordered by the Supreme Court will now be held on October 26, just five days to the 60 days allowed by the Constitution. The president's social media manager Dennis Itumbi welcomed the date a gift to Uhuru. "We will vote, win and celebrate," he wrote on Facebook.
In a statement by IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati, the new date was agreed to give the commission enough time to prepare for the exercise. “In order to ensure that the commission is fully prepared to deliver an election that meets the standards set out by the Supreme Court, we wish to notify the public and all stakeholders that the fresh presidential election shall now be held on Thursday 26th October 2017.
Mr Chebukati said the full judgment which was delivered yesterday after Justice David Maraga nullified on September 1st, the August 8 Presidential election made the commission effect some adjustments prompting the exercise be delayed.
“There is no doubt that the judgment impacts on the election operations and in particular technology to be deployed,” Mr Chebukati said, adding, that IEBC will issue more details tomorrow (Friday) on the state of preparedness.
The chairman said IEBC continues to review the detailed Supreme Court ruling for purposes of understanding its implications on the court-ordered fresh poll.
Supreme Court judges David Maraga, Philomena Mwilu, Smokin Wanjala and Isaac Lenaola held that the presidential election held on August 8 “was not conducted in accordance with the Constitution and the applicable law rendering the declared result invalid, null and void.”
They also held that there were substantial irregularities and illegalities in the presidential election that they affected the integrity of the election, “the results notwithstanding.”
“As for the IEBC, all we are saying is that, the constitutional mandate placed upon it is a heavy yet, noble one. In conducting the fresh election consequent upon our orders, and indeed in conducting any future election, IEBC must do so in conformity with the Constitution, and the law. For, what is the need of having a Constitution if it is not respected?” the judges posed in their judgment.
Judges Jackton Ojwang’ and Njoki Ndung’u penned separate dissenting judgments from the majority ruling.
Signs that the election date will be changed emerged last week when the commission revealed the company providing the electronic voter list and results transmission system said it would not be ready by October 17.
French-firm OT-Morpho had submitted a six-page report to the commission, in which it detailed how long it would take to reconfigure the 45,000 kits for the fresh election.
“Since Morpho gave its oral presentations, the talk of change of the election date has gained traction in the commission but has not become a substantive agenda,” a source at the IEBC told the Nation last week.
The kits will have to be configured with the names of the top two presidential candidates only after the other six were locked out.
This will be after a meticulous, no-mistakes-allowed removal and safekeeping of the August 8 General Election data to avoid the risk of the kits re-using data from the invalidated poll.
Since other five races are not involved, the names of the 14,000 candidates, their results and portraits will also be removed from the system.
It is important for the IEBC to get the configuration of the kits right — and, ultimately, the voter identification and results transmission — as they were at the heart of the Supreme Court ruling that invalidated the re-election of President Kenyatta and ordered a fresh poll within 60 days.
The change of the election date to October 26 could be seen as psychological win for the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA), which had petitioned the August 8 election of President Uhuru Kenyatta, and which had been adamant that the fresh election as ordered by the court would not be held on October 17 as earlier announced by IEBC.
NASA wanted the date for the fresh election to be selected through a consultative basis and not through perceived directions from their opponents in Jubilee.
Besides the election date, the opposition has also published what they call irreducible minimums that consist of reforms that must be effected before the fresh election.
The opposition’s list of irreducible minimums broadly consist of personnel changes at IEBC, reforms on technology for election, identification of a new printer for the ballot papers as well as operational and logistical reforms.
Foremost on NASA’s list of demands is the personnel changes. For this, the opposition alliance has provided a list of 11 commission officials including IEBC Commissioner Abdi Guliye, CEO Ezra Chiloba and deputy CEO Betty Nyabuto.
The list also includes deputy CEO Marjan Hussein Marjan, who was recently appointed by Mr Chebukati to head the project team for the fresh elections, directors James Muhati (ICT), Immaculate Kassait (voter registration and electoral operations), Praxedes Tororey (legal and public affairs), adviser to the CEO Moses Kipkogey, Sidney Namulungu, Nancy Kariuki and Silas Rotich.
Besides Mr Marjan, others on NASA’s blacklist but who were recently appointed to the project team are Dr Namulungu, Ms Kariuki and Mr Rotich.