NAIROBI, Kenya, July 10 – The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy CORD has threatened to boycott the 2017 General Election if IEBC chairman Issack Hassan continues heading the electoral body.
Addressing journalists in his office, Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama said the party had lost trust in Hassan’s leadership owing to credibility issues.
“If the 2017 General elections are conducted by IEBC, as CORD we will boycott the elections. We are speaking on behalf of Kenyans, if we want this country to be led in peace, equality and respect, then our opinion as Kenyans should also be respected,” he said.
Muthama said their main issue with Hassan was the fact that he was facing corruption allegations relating to the ‘chicken gate’ scandal and called on him to first clear his name of the allegations.
“Hassan spearheaded the purchase of the Biometric Voter Registration kits which were overpriced and whose function ability failed on the day of the elections,” he pointed out.
During of the launch of the 2015-2020 strategic plan Thursday, IEBC Vice Chairperson Lilian Mahiri-Zaja noted that the kits which were used during the elections experienced mechanical challenges saying they had learnt from the mistakes of the 2013 general elections.
“Electronic Voter Identification Devices failed to a large extent during polling day, but in the past by-elections we have improved and they have been successful… we have drawn lessons from the challenges in the last election,” said Mahiri-Zaja.
Muthama said the party opted to skip the launch of the IEBC strategic plan as the commission had ignored their pleas for an extension so as to give their input.
He pointed out that they had raised over 55 issues within the strategic plan with the commission but their proposals had been shelved.
“Although they said they postponed the earlier date for the launch to allow for a workshop to be called for political parties to attend, there was no workshop that was called and if it was, we would have been the first to attend,” he posed.
He called for the withdrawal of the strategic plan to allow the aggrieved parties to give their input saying what was presented by the IEBC was not representative.
The document sets the standards for which the next elections will be carried out and is part of the process of redeeming the confidence of Kenyans in the electoral body.
“We want to deliver elections that are free, fair and credible. We want people to have faith in electoral democracy,” said IEBC chief executive Ezra Chiloba during the launch.
Other issues raised by CORD are the non-involvement of counties in the development of the plan and the fact that smaller political parties had been totally ignored with the three major political parties only consulted.
READ: Political parties wage war on IEBC over strategic plan
In a statement sent to newsrooms, CORD leader Raila Odinga said the move by IEBC was a bias against the opposition stating that this was evidence of how the commission would carry out the next election.
“We feel that the IEBC has put the cart before the horse, proceeding without conducting an all-inclusive review of its past activities and making the process mechanical at best,” read part of the statement.
Odinga warned that despite the commissions bid to shed the negative publicity, their actions were dangerous and were portraying the electoral body anti-democratic.