, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 8 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Monday urged the Interim Independent Electoral Commission of Kenya (IIECK) to use the forthcoming Shinyalu and Bomachoge parliamentary by-elections to prove their competence and impartiality in conducting future polls.
He told the Commissioners who paid him a courtesy call at his Treasury offices that the polls were a litmus test on their integrity and recommended for them to procure transparent ballot boxes for the exercise.
“They are cheap and they are good. You have a heavy responsibility. It is an enormous task but I know you are equal to it. The government will give you all the support you need to deliver,” the PM said.
In views supported by Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo, the PM asked the IIECK officials that the country was looking up to them and they must use Shinyalu and Bomachoge by-elections to showcase their capacity to run clean elections.
He asked them to guard their independence and ignore partisan views which he said were common in the game of competitive politics.
“The nation is looking up to you. Do not be swayed by partisan views. Those views will always be there. The politicians will always talk. Be the referee and let your word be final,” he said.
Mr Kilonzo asked the Commissioners to work professionally and refuse to take orders from above. He asked them to use the by elections as a yard stick to gauge their effectiveness and derive experiences for the improvement of future exercises.
“Let Shinyalu by-elections be conducted using transparent ballot boxes. Ensure the voters register in Shinyalu and Bomachoge reflect the defining moment they are for Kenya. Please give Kenyans a module they can rely on in future elections,” Mr Kilonzo said.
“You have a big task for this country. You have a historic challenge on your hands. How you discharge this responsibility will determine how history will judge you,” he added.
During the meeting, Finance PS Joseph Kinyua assured the Commission that it has been allocated over Sh800 million in the Supplementary Budget and the money would be available once the President signs the Act.
The chairman of IIECK Mr Ahmed Issack Hassan assured the PM that the team has received writs for Bomachoge and Shinyalu and is ready to do elections once funds are available.
He said the terms of service for the new electoral body was ready and that at least the Sh883 million allocated for the Commission in the supplementary budget were awaiting Presidential approval.
The PM said the government will assist the new team to learn from experiences of other countries. He said the IIECK was unfortunate because it has no institutional memory to learn from, the old team having been disbanded. But he said that also provided an opportunity for the team to begin on a clean slate, minus the baggage of the past.