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Stop undermining IEBC, government tells opposition

The government has accused the opposition of undermining the work of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

State House Spokesman Mr Manoah Esipisu, who accused the opposition of peddling falsehoods against the electoral agency, said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) should be supported as it prepares for the forthcoming General Election.

The government, however, shied away from the controversy facing the electoral body over the choice of Safran Identity and Security, a French company to supply the electoral management system.

“We continue to note the opposition’s continued attacks on the IEBC and other constitutionally mandated institutions that are just trying to do their job,” Mr Esipisu said at State House Nakuru on Sunday during a press briefing.

DELIVER FREE POLLS

“To undermine an institution that is pivotal to deliver free, fair and credible elections is in fact to undermine the country. So we continue to urge them (opposition) to be responsible and refrain from peddling fake news as this demeans Kenya’s progress,” he said.

Mr Esipisu spoke as French Company Safran Identity and Security, which was single sourced by the electoral agency to supply the electoral management system, was facing credibility issues following reports of bribery involvement in Nigeria.

The French company which is accused of bribing public officials in Nigeria to win a 170 million euro contract in the period between the year 2000 and 2003 to make more than 70 million identity cards was fined 500,000 euros on Wednesday by a Paris court.

PROCURE ELECTIONS MATERIALS

On Friday, IEBC announced that it had resolved to directly procure elections equipment from Safran, previously known as Morpho. This followed cancellation of a previous tender which had been awarded to French firm- Gemalto SA.

The tender procurement of the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (KIEMS) has been ridden with controversy and was revoked following a court order.

On Sunday, the Secretary of Communication and State House Spokesman said IEBC will have to defend its decision to settle on the company, in view of the latest revelations.

“It was out of a decision made by IEBC and they have to defend their decision themselves,” Mr Esipisu said at the State House press briefing.

He said it will be upon the commission to convince Kenyans that the company is the right pick for the job.

DEFEND DECISION

“In terms of its record, I am unable to speak to that because I wasn’t really part of the decision making by IEBC. They will have to defend their decision themselves and I think the Kenyan people will then make up their minds,” he said.

Mr Esipisu, however, said IEBC must be supported on its work as the country heads to the next general election.

“We have to be supportive of the work that is done by IEBC, it is mandated to do this job and to do in the best possible way. Our position in the administration is that the IEBC needs to be supported in this work,” he said.

The State House spokesman also chided the opposition plans to set up a parallel tallying centre in the August 8 Election saying only IEBC is officially recognized and mandated to carry out the task.

“You may want to set up whatever you want to set up. It is not an official set up, the IEBC is constitutionally mandated to this job and Kenyans should look to the IEBC to get the job done,’ he said.

“The idea that anyone can be gallivanting around with their own operations, however inspired it can be, is reflective of the mind that casts doubt on the work that the IEBC has been mandated to do. What we would say is I think people claim to have been champions of the new Constitution- let them be seen to support it,” he stated.

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