, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 21 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has dismissed as ‘mundane bar talk’ the headline story by the Sunday Nation which claimed to reveal intrigues of last year’s General Election.
In a statement sent to newsroom the IEBC Communications Manager Tabitha Mutemi says the allegations in the secret recording of an anonymous senior election official that the last General Election had serious flaws is in itself too mysterious that any serious publication would make an attempt to unravel it.
“This is not the first wild allegation about elections. Even on the very election date, rumors were doing the rounds that the IEBC CEO James Oswago had been kidnapped. It did not deter malicious elements that Oswago could be seen on TV at the Bomas of Kenya media briefings,” she said.
Mutemi says the story was unbalanced and largely premised on hearsay pointing out that the publication did not bother to ascertain the credibility of the information before publishing it.
“But the difference with this new allegation is that it has been carried by a newspaper that is considered mainstream and credible. Why wouldn’t the paper give the Commission a chance to give its side of the story? It would have been prudent and professional to disclose the allegations and seek our response before publication to allow us ascertain or at least give our view about it,” she stated.
She says that IEBC conducted free and fair elections adding that anyone who has critical information to the contrary or knows of any malpractice by an election official should, according the law take it through the legal avenues.
“The motive behind the urgency of making a front-page headline from such an incomplete and unbalanced story largely premised on hearsay leaves a lot to be desired. There was nothing shocking about it and neither was it a revelation. In fact, one of the dailies had pursued it and dropped it for lack of substance,” she said.
The Sunday Nation reported that a man thought to be a top official in charge of last year’s l elections was caught on tape questioning the credibility of the process a day before the results were announced.
The man claims the commission was infiltrated before the elections and may not have been in full control of its electronic systems.
“So their strategy began at a very early stage. The other thing is that they also infiltrated this system we were using of electronic transmission,” the official is heard saying.
The official claims to have identified one of the alleged moles, who was recruited about four months before the election from a state agency with the help of powerful individuals. He further notes there may have been more such “infiltrators” whose brief was to manipulate electronic data.
The man claims to have raised the issue of the integrity of the data with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, who were assisting IEBC to set up the system, but he was assured all was well.
“I knew they might infiltrate the system, so I was doing everything I could to prevent that. The only thing I didn’t know is that they could bring their own people from outside to do it, just like you would employ a cook at your home only for him to turn out to be a real enemy,” the man said.