The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) wants new electoral commissioners picked by December 23.
Cord leaders Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka also insisted that the outgoing Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) commissioners stop transacting any commission business as they were illegally in office.
Addressing a press conference at Capitol Hill, Nairobi, on Thursday, Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka accused the outgoing IEBC commissioners of continuing to conduct business even after the enactment of a new law removing them from office.
“The retired commissioners must stop any activity or engagement in the name of IEBC forthwith and new commissioners must assume office on or before 23 December 2016,” said Mr Musyoka.
He maintained that the Issack Hassan-led team is in office illegally as a new law had been passed creating a seven-member commission unlike the previous commission, which had nine members.
“The Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2016 only provides for a Commission consisting of seven members and there are no transitional provisions enabling the Commissioners to remain in office as constituted prior to the enactment of the statute,” said Mr Musyoka.
Other Cord leaders at the press conference included senators James Orengo (Siaya) and Johnson Muthama (Machakos), governors Ali Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Okoth Obado (Migori) and John Nyagarama (Nyamira) and Tongareni MP Eseli Simiyu.
“The removal of the commissioners was founded on their lack of integrity and credibility and their characters have been impugned in relation to several scandals including ‘Chickengate’. They cannot continue to be in office and transact the business of the commission,” he added.
The leaders also demanded that the commission stop awarding any tenders related to the next general election until the new commissioners take office.
“Any award of tenders in respect of the general elections to be held in 2017 must be cancelled or frozen until the new commissioners take office and all systems in regard thereto are in place,” he stated.
He cited the recent award of a Sh2.5 billion tender to a Dubai firm to supply ballot papers, calling it suspicious.
“The IEBC is awarding tenders in respect of next year’s general elections, and in many instances, in a questionable manner and without following the law of the elections as presently established,” warned Mr Musyoka.
“There is a mad rush to deal with all the contracts and the award of tenders almost as an exercise of looting after a combat and an array of hostilities. But the fact of the matter is that the stage is being set for election rigging before new commissioners are appointed,” he added.
VOTER REGISTER AUDIT
Mr Musyoka warned that Cord will not accept anything short of a comprehensive audit of the register by a reputable firm procured competitively, and through a transparent process of verifying the accuracy of the register and to achieve biometric voter registration.
“There must be only one single register of voters to be maintained in a public web portal for inspection by members of the public,” he noted.
Mr Musyoka and Mr Odinga further warned IEBC Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba against usurping the functions of the commission in the absence of the new commissioners.
“He must not purport to run the commission because he is not the commission. The commission is different from Chiloba,” said Mr Odinga.
The two leaders called for a careful scrutiny of the voter register to ensure there are no anomalies ahead of the next general election.
“Extremely important enactments were statutory timelines for the conduct of an audit of the Register of Voters and its verification for accuracy; the appointment of Commissioners and the technical committee to oversee the acquisition of technology and the testing and deployment thereof; and the preparations and conduct of elections,” Mr Musyoka stated.
He lamented that so far, no audit has been done in line with the law resulting in a single register of voters that has captured the biometric data of voters.
“Instead, the IEBC had conducted a random inspection of the register in an opaque manner which has not dealt with the problem of purging the register and expunging the names of dead voters; multiple registrations, underage voters and verification, accuracy and integrity of the register,” he went on.
He accused the commission under Mr Chiloba of tampering with the register of voters with a view to rigging the election in favour of Jubilee come next year.
“The IEBC is continuing with its old games of tampering with and falsifying the register and has proceeded with an unfair and unequal registration of voters,” he said.