Opposition has sparked a new war with IEBC over polling stations
The Opposition has sparked a fresh war with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) with claims that there is a plan to manipulate elections results through secret polling stations that are yet to be declared.
The National Super Alliance (NASA) has accused the electoral commission of not being clear on the exact number of polling stations despite making numerous inquiries.
But in a rejoinder the IEBC said it had finalised the list of polling centres which it placed at 40,800. The IEBC on Tuesday indicated that there were 41,000 polling stations when it released the final number of voters which it placed at 19,611,423.
Saturday the commission sought to dispel fears that may arise from NASA’s new claims.
“Consider the openness around the register of voters. We kept giving figures right from registration. We had a one month verification exercise where people came to check if their finger prints matched their registration details,” said IEBC’s communications manager Andrew Limo.
“It worked well. Now we have inspection using SMS and online,” he said.
However, NASA’s presidential running mate Kalonzo Musyoka said they had not been provided with the exact number of polling stations. This, he noted, made planning for the elections quite difficult, especially because the figures provided by the electoral agency kept shifting. Without offering proof, Kalonzo sensationally claimed the government was planning to create mayhem in opposition strongholds by illegally increasing the Jubilee vote tally.
“Voting in secret polling stations are some of the strategies that have been developed to manipulate the outcome of the August poll,” he claimed.
NASA has made similar claims previously but they have been chided by their rivals who have reiterated that claims of rigging were proffered by an opposition that was already sensing defeat. Among the complaints by NASA is the award of a tender to a Dubai-based firm Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing Company was part of the rigging process.
However, Jubilee Party vice chairman David Murathe said NASA was changing goal posts every day because it was running scared of defeat in the August polls. “We know they are worried of defeat and now they are using every possible gimmick so that when they lose, they will protest,” said Murathe.
He added: “They want to precipitate a political crisis through their allegations so that they get half of the government. We will remain firm that the elections must be held on August 8 and whoever loses should be ready to accept defeat because we want a united country beyond the polls,” said Murathe.
Apart from the replacement of IEBC commissioners NASA through its protests has managed to force an audit of the voter register and recently had its way when the Court of Appeal ruled that the results of vote tallying at the constituency level would be final.
The Opposition has questioned the sealing of the Bomas of Kenya which will be IEBC’s tallying centre during the elections. Saturday Kalonzo criticised the securing of the Bomas of Kenya venue.
“We are asking them to remove the underground cables that were used last time to rig the elections by linking the national tally and the TNA tallying centre at the Catholic University through the Kencall,” said Kalonzo
Kalonzo Saturday criticised IEBC for failing to post online the list of polling stations alongside the list of voters as required by the law. “We have read a lot in their plans. IEBC does not respect the law and it seems to be deliberately doing things as it wants forgetting that there rules to be followed,” he said.
However, Saturday the IEBC said it had developed a process to ensure that there is a free and fair election. “We will run a process that ensures fairness to all. Technology is not even our biggest strength. The integrity, professionalism and values of the people working on the election is the untold success story,” said Limo.
“If there is anyone with mischief it is not the preserve of our clients, the political parties to agonise over it. The Commission is an interested party in the quest for identifying and punishing electoral malpractices, if any,” he assured.
Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki said recently: “Every time the Opposition feels the heat is too much, it resorts to intimidation and violence. The same NASA forced us to replace IEBC commissioners.”
He went on: “As Jubilee, we acceded to their wish because we wanted to avoid loss of lives. The same NASA is now intimidating IEBC and the Judiciary.”
And speaking in Makueni Jubilee leaders steered clear of the debate and instead urged the Opposition to tell Kenyans what they have to offer instead of crying wolf over non-issues.
“Instead of Opposition leaders hurling insults at us, they should sell their agenda to Kenyans because they have nothing to show the voters in terms of development,” President Uhuru Kenyatta told a rally at Matiliku market. Saturday Kalonzo said the government was planning to use the security machinery to intimidate voters in opposition strongholds and create voter apathy.
“A Jubilee-triggered conflict may lead to dispersal of voters…for security reasons. IEBC must give a brief on security deployment and publicise guidelines on the conduct of security personnel at the polling centres,” said Kalonzo.