IEBC Chief Executive Ezra Chiloba has defended the commission’s handling of the nullified August 8 presidential election, saying it did its best and the “minor errors” should not have led to its cancellation.
Mr Chiloba, who spoke exclusively to NTV’s Sidebar, defended the integrity of the poll, saying IEBC servers were not hacked while accepting blame that “some of the officials” the agency hired for the polls might have committed errors.
“From the information I have, and the expert opinion, I can confidently say that the IEBC system was not hacked. And that there was no attempt to hack,” Mr Chiloba said in the interview.
The CEO also revealed that the IEBC would on Thursday meet the Raila Odinga-led Nasa, which has demanded his sacking before the October 17 fresh presidential elections as ordered by the Supreme Court.
The team has also demanded the sacking of returning officers implicated in what they allege was massive rigging, and the change of the Dubai-based Al-Ghurair as the printer of the presidential election ballot papers.
“Al-Ghurair is our preferred choice (for printing the ballots) because we have an existing contract with them,” he said.
This, and the other Nasa demands, Mr Chiloba said, would be discussed in the planned meeting.
Mr Chiloba said there were no divisions in the commission after the judgment, following a damning 12-page memo written to him by Chairman Wafula Chebukati.
The memo was disowned by five of the seven commissioners, with only Roselyne Akombe appearing to back Mr Chebukati.
Commissioner Margaret Mwachanya also later disowned the joint protest statement.
But following a two-day bonding retreat in Naivasha, Mr Chebukati declared the commission as one, and said that there was no cause for alarm.
“The chair had all the right to ask questions (in the memo), and I am duty bound to answer them. We have provided all the answers and the commission is now looking at them and we hope to make them public soon,” Mr Chiloba said of the memo.
Asked about the massive clerical errors pointed out in the results declaration forms, Mr Chiloba said that the errors were unavoidable in a massive logistical undertaking like the General Election.
“Those places that sent in text results without the forms, it was not intentional. In 2013, 46 per cent of the stations failed to send text data. In 2017, there was a 100 per cent of that. All we need to do now is ensure that we get 100 per cent transmission of the forms as well,” said Mr Chiloba.
The IEBC chief defended the commission on the failures identified by the Chief Justice David Maraga-led Supreme Court.
“We mounted a process incomparable with others in the world. We did our best. We deployed resources in a way that could help us ensure a credible election,” he said.
He, however, said that while there were obvious gaps the commission had picked up even before the court’s detailed judgment is out, those gaps, he believes should not have been used to annul the declaration of the results.
“Despite these minor irregularities, they needed not amount to nullifying the entire presidential elections,” he argued.
Mr Chiloba sidestepped a question on whether he will resign based on Nasa’s demands.
“I do not think I should be part of the matrix at this point . . . Whether me being there or not. They have a bigger challenge whether the country will be ready to conduct an election to the standards of the Supreme Court. And if we continue this way, then most likely we might not get there,” he said.
“I think we need to shift the focus, because there is the greater interest of the country that goes beyond Chiloba.”
Wetang’ula says no elections will held at all if the petition handed to IEBC is not addressed.