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Without credibility in election, democracy is dead

By Isaac kiti

The electoral body IEBC has found itself at the crossroads of the current political standoff in the country.

With the country’s political fever heightening up following the untimely resignation of Roselyne Akombe a senior IEBC commissioner this Wednesday while in United States -New York. People have divergent opinions regarding her reasons for quitting and generally her resignation as a whole; few days to the repeat presidential election.

Before the August 8 annulled election, another fate struck the commission; exactly few days to the election. IEBC ICT manager Chris Msando went missing and later found killed. These unexpected turn of events from the electoral college vindicated the commission had problems it tried keeping secret till Akombe spilled the beans. There is more to Dr. Akombe’s resignation than for her to be viewed by many as partisan and traitor. It is just a tip of the iceberg if she were to be probed.

According to her statement, of the reasons that necessitated her stepping aside, the senior IEBC commissioner poked holes on the current preparedness of the electoral agency to partake the coming election stressed that it won’t meet the basics of a credible election owing to her fact that its staff are receiving last minute directives on conducting the poll.

“The commission in its current state can surely not guarantee a credible election on October 26, 2017. I do not want to be party to such a mockery to electoral integrity.” she said.

When an official close and party to the commission disclosed this and later IEBC Chair Wafula Chebukati admitted “I cannot deliver a credible election” thereafter. Then Kenyans solemnly have all the reasons to query the integrity of electoral agency’s staff on the basis of conducting a free, fair and credible election or be contented with a shambolic election to come.

A segment of Jubilee leaders insists there must be an election on October 26 regardless of how many resignations there will be because the Supreme Court ordered. The question is; without free, fair and credibility in elections, what kind of a democracy is the country indulging in? How can the International community and natives attest the essence of voting truly reflects will of the people?

The opposition Nasa’s anti-IEBC campaigns on the electoral agency that resulted to disruptions, attacks and injuries to the agency’s staff as witnessed in Mumias, Bungoma, Homabay, Siaya and Kisumu equals to strategical barriers aimed at cultivating difficulty in execution of electoral agency’s duties. These actions inappropriate especially where an important constitutional exercise is to be carried out.

Dr. Akombe talked of the existence of extremists’ responses amongst commissioners in IEBC after sharing her detailed reports of Western regions affected by ongoing protests following her training tour of presiding officers in the region hoping to bring the commission to its attention to sort out the issues but she was wrong only for her to receive negative extremist responses to her findings. In her statement Akombe said, some of the commissioners were keen to have an of election even if it will cost the lives of fellow staffs and the voters.

This definitely speaks volume. There is certainty the commission was taken hostage by some political forces which dictate what must be followed when it comes to making key decisions in its secretariat.

Intimidation of the commission’s staffs by political masters is obvious whenever a section of the staff are partisans and are loyal to their political master’s obligations.

This is the ghost the IEBC sector chairman Wafula Chebukati has been fooling Kenyans refuting claims there were divisions in the commission with some staff sidelining to certain political affiliations. Now it is out for all and sundry.

Akombe’s publicized statement of the teething issues consuming the commissions integrity forced Chebukati to clear the air, “I will not go down as the chairman who plunged the country into a deeper crisis.” He added “I call upon staff who have been adversely mentioned to step aside.”

It is true with a divided commission, Chebukati cannot make a step forward. It will make it hard for him to discharge his duties effectively as mandated. Commissioners political affiliations overrides the IEBC chair’s directives to some of the key issues demanding solution.

Therefore, his call to resignation of some of the members implicated in scandal carry weight as it should give a room for reforms by rooting out the culprits that burgled the August election to avoid the possibility of them adulterating the repeat poll.

This might call for a re-scheduling of the election to a later date to give ample time to clear the dirt before hoping into an election. Going into an election with the current state of the IEBC guarantee nothing but an inevitable one man’s win results, after all credibility is lost.

The writer is a Mass Media and communication student at Mount Kenya University and Nep Journal contributor. He can be reached


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