NGONG, Kenya, Sept 16 -The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) insists that it is ready to conduct polls in March next year, and dismissed calls for them to be pushed to August.
IEBC Chairman Issack Hassan said on Sunday that statements attributed to Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim calling for the postponement of elections were a demonstration of lack of political goodwill to actualise the March 4, 2013 date.
Hassan insisted that IEBC was committed to conduct the General Election on the date that it announced earlier in the year.
Hassan said; “We need political goodwill to conduct elections both from the Executive and Parliament; the commission is ready and prepared to conduct this general election (and on) March 4 Kenyans will go the polls.”
The IEBC chief told a news conference that a proposal by Parliamentarians to reduce the number of parliamentary seats from 290 to 150 in order to meet a two-thirds gender threshold was not viable at present.
“In order to effect such a change, Parliament must pass a two-thirds majority vote then it goes to a referendum for the people to approve. A referendum is like going for another general election; can we afford those costs?” he challenged.
Hassan, at the same time, cautioned that rising tribal strife witnessed in the Tana Delta, rising political temperatures and insecurity must be checked in order to ensure a credible election.
“Elections are an important step towards the consolidation of democracy and peace. The recent cases of lawlessness recorded in the country do not help in creating the right environment for large numbers to register and vote in elections,” he said.
“This is our election. We must all own it and protect it. Let us start on the right foot!” he stated.
The IEBC Chairman said they will issue a comprehensive report on the Biometric Voter Registration equipment.
He was speaking at Oloolaiser High School in Ngong which will act as the Kajiado North Constituency Tallying Centre ahead of Monday’s by election in Kajiado North Constituency
He declared that it was all systems go as the commission finalised preparations to conduct by elections in Kajiado North, Kangema and Ndhiwa Constituencies and 15 civic wards.
Hassan said the commission had hired 2,811 polling clerks, 1,446 presiding officers and deputy presiding officers for deployment to their respective station.
A total of 38 international and 489 domestic observers have been accredited by the IEBC to monitor the polls will kick off from 6am until 5pm.
He said that the Commission has put contingent measures in place to ensure the whole process is conducted in a faster and efficient manner.
The three parliamentary seats fell vacant after former Environment Minister John Michuki died in February due to heart complications followed by deaths of Internal Security Minister George Saitoti and his assistant Orwa Ojode in the Ngong forest helicopter crash last month.
The Kangema seat has 10 candidates with the Kajiado North and Ndhiwa seats also attracting a six and three candidates respectively.