NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 21 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has rubbished claims that it was partisan in arriving at the March 4, 2013 election date.
Commissioner Albert Bwire said that the issue was extensively canvassed by all the commissioners and the decision reached with consideration to all provisions of the Constitution.
He said that the ongoing debate following the announcement of the election date was healthy adding that the commission was listening.
“We have made our decision and it is healthy to listen to the people ventilate. The issue was discussed by the commission and an independent decision made, it does not favour any political party or stakeholder,” said Bwire.
A section of politicians had accused IEBC of being partisan after the commission pronounced a date in a month that was preferred by the president.
However IEBC Chief Electoral Officer James Oswago told Capital FM’s Talk 360 show on Sunday that the commission had an elections operation plan that has put mechanisms ready to conduct an election this year should any of the arms of government reverse their March 4, 2013 date.
“This commission can deliver an election in December. The chairman (Issack Hassan) said if the principals told us to do the elections in December or if the courts ruled for a December election, we would be ready to comply,” said Oswago.
Commissioner Bwire who spoke during the launch of a mock election education at the Watakatifu Catholic Centre in Ngong said that the commission will use the exercise to identify logistical challenges that may hamper the effective conduct and management of elections.
“We want to know deficiencies that exist and use them as learning points so that when elections are held we shall have plans to mitigate these gaps. We also want to know how long a single voter takes to complete the voting so that we know how many to have per polling station,” he explained.
Hundreds of Kajiado North Constituents turned up for the education exercise and to get a feel of how the next general elections will be like.
Apart from voting for the President and Member of Parliament, a voter will be require to vote for the governor, senator, women representative and the county representative.
Bwire who is in charge of voter education called on the voters in Kajiado North and Malindi constituencies to turn up in large numbers on Saturday to help the commission accurately asses the voting process.
He confirmed that the IEBC had hired staff for the mock elections but that it will hire staff for the general election at the appropriate time.
IEBC chose the two constituencies for the mock elections due to the fact that they both have features of urban and rural constituencies.
“We want to know how long it will take the rural and the urban voter and use them as learning points,” he further explained.