, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 15 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy on Tuesday traded blame over who was responsible for an aborted meeting on the Okoa Kenya signature verification exercise.
CORD accused IEBC of snubbing them despite having been forewarned about the visit while the electoral body accused the Opposition party of disregarding communication that they would not be available for the visit given it was the final day of a month-long mass voter registration drive.
“It is therefore wrong to state that the chairperson and the commissioners snubbed the meeting,” IEBC Communication Tabitha Mutemi stated in a press release.
“For the record, the IEBC Chairperson personally followed the letter with a phone call to Paul Mwangi, the Chairperson of the Okoa Kenya Secretariat, to reiterate the unavailability of commissioners.”
CORD principal Raila Odinga had earlier told the press that they had through a letter of their own, notified the IEBC of their planned Tuesday visit and expectation of an update on the Okoa Kenya signature verification exercise.
“When we were last here on February 16 they asked us to give them 10 days to complete the exercise. Those 10 days have come and gone,” Odinga’s co-principal Moses Wetangula told reporters gathered outside the IEBC Anniversary Towers headquarters after they “bounced.”
The CORD principals said they took the “snub” as an affront and said it gave credence to their apprehension that IEBC would not be a fair “referee” come the 2017 general elections.
“I’m sure if it was a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta, Issack would not be away,” Odinga said.
Through its statement the IEBC however sought to assure CORD that they took them and their Okoa Kenya referendum drive seriously. “The Commission attaches a lot of importance to this exercise and is committed to conclude the Okoa Kenya signature verification exercise soonest possible,” Mutemi stated.
IEBC Chairman Issack Hassan has previously blamed CORD for the length of time it’s taken them to verify the signatures.
He says CORD ignored its advice to submit the signatures on soft copy. “The Commission wishes to state that the verification process is in its final stage of capturing the hard copy booklets into soft copy. If the initiative meets the one million threshold as specified in Article 257 (4) of the Constitution, the Commission will submit the bill to County Assemblies for consideration,” Mutemi stated on Tuesday.