Aspirants fuelling chaos to be barred from polls

The
electoral commission has decried a worrying wave of electoral violence marring
ongoing campaigns and has threatened to disqualify perpetrators from the August 8
polls.

The
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, which has come under pressure to crack the
whip, said it has dispatched teams of investigators to volatile areas to collect
evidence.

Chairman Wafula Chebukati said the commission will deal firmly with cases of
electoral violence as a spate of political intolerance sweeps across the
country.

He said the commission is closely monitoring Presidential campaigns, following
ugly incidences that have threatened to stoke tension.

“We
call on all candidates, political parties and their supporters to conduct their
campaigns with utmost restraint and in strict adherence to the Electoral Code
of Conduct,” Chebukati said at a press conference last evening.

President
Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee brigade was heckled in Kisumu last Wednesday, while
NASA Presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s entourage met resistance in
Kabarnet, Baringo county, the same day and on Thursday in Kenol, Murang’a county, and Thika, Kiambu county, where his motorcade was pelted with stones.

The
IEBC condemned the violent interference of the Presidential campaigns.

Chebukati warned
political parties and candidates against breaching the provisions of the
Electoral Code of Conduct, of which they have signed and committed themselves
to uphold.

“The
commission could take several measures, including fining offenders, suspending
campaigns in areas prone to violence and/or barring candidates from participating
in the election,” the IEBC boss said.

“The
objective of the Electoral Code of Conduct is to provide a conducive
environment for free, fair and credible elections.”

Chebukati warned
that Kenyans must adhere to the provisions of the Constitution that guarantee
freedoms and rights to political association and choice.

The
exercise of these freedoms must come with responsibilities to ensure that our
electoral process is free from violence, intimidation, improper influence or
corruption, he said.

Chebukati said the commission is putting final
touches to its operational plan in preparation for the General Election.

Almost all the non-strategic materials have been dispatched to the commission’s
warehouses in the regional offices.

The IEBC
boss said the commission has already gazetted all the polling stations and
tallying centres and recruited polling officials.

The names
of the polling officials will be submitted to political parties and candidates
as provided for in the law and then gazetted in the next few days, he said.

The
commission, however, said it will not make public details of voters, including personal
identification information in the voters’ register web portal for security reasons.

“Details
to be revealed include names of voters and their polling stations. Phone
numbers and ID numbers will be truncated for privacy purposes,” IEBC said.

We wish
to assure Kenyans that we have taken several steps to maintain the integrity of
the register right from voter registration to the certification of the
register.

The
commission allayed fears that data captured during registration may have been
manipulated, citing immediate encryption and use of Secure File Transfer Protocol.

“During
data transfer at the commission’s regional offices, our system uses a SFTP
through a secure virtual private network (VPN) between the regional servers and
national servers and therefore there is no possibility of manipulation of any
voter data,” Chebukati said.

He added that the commission’s biometric voter registration system sits in an
autonomous private network without internet connectivity and is not
vulnerable to any outside attacks or intrusion.

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