UhuRuto protest over IEBC hurdles


President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto have asked the Judiciary and the Opposition to stop interfering with the work of the electoral commission.

Uhuru and Mr Ruto protested that the courts were becoming increasingly entangled in what they described as attempts by the Opposition to delay the August 8 elections.

The Jubilee leaders said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) should be left alone to carry out its mandate to prepare for elections as stipulated in the Constitution.

“You cannot claim independence and use it to interfere with the functioning of the Executive and other arms of Government… We have respected you for too long but do not take our silence as cowardice. We will not allow our competitors to use the courts to intimidate the IEBC,” Uhuru warned while addressing residents in Marigat town, Baringo County.

The Jubilee leaders cited a recent statement by Chief Justice David Maraga directing IEBC not to print ballot papers until a case that was in court was decided.

The CJ was referring to the National Super Alliance’s (NASA) case challenging the awarding of a ballot printing tender to a Dubai firm. The High Court on Friday directed IEBC not to proceed with the printing of presidential ballot papers.

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Speaking at a rally in Baringo attended by Senator Gideon Moi Sunday, Uhuru held that the August 8 polls would not be postponed.

He said it was not right to have the printing of presidential ballot papers halted while those for other elective positions were printed.

Ruto petitioned the Chief Justice to explain what it meant to have the printing of ballot papers stopped pending cases in court.

Swift response

In a swift response, Maraga said at no time had he asked the IEBC not to proceed with ballot printing, arguing that his remarks had been taken out of context.

“We in the Judiciary are open to constructive engagement, including being criticised. However, when political leaders cast aspersions on the administration of justice based on a misinterpretation of my statement, it has the potential to impair public confidence in our courts and this concerns me a great deal,” said Maraga.

And NASA said “it is not for the President to decide for the judges and by extension the Judiciary how the courts conduct their business”.

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The statement issued by NASA Chief Executive Officer Norman Magaya also said: “Our position remains the same. We will do everything within our powers for this country to have a credible election on the 8th of August.”

The DP also affirmed that elections would be conducted on August 8.

He warned IEBC against playing cat and mouse games with the elections, adding that Jubilee would not entertain any games between IEBC and NASA.

The President and his deputy said the many moves by NASA, including going to court, was an indication that they were not ready for the elections.

They challenged NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga to come out and declare his stand in case he was defeated in the polls.

Uhuru also said the Government would ensure that the security Baringo residents was maintained.

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