Sakaja blames lack of IEBC register for primaries mess

April 26, 2017 8:16 pm
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Sakaja said the interim register would have assisted political parties with polling station data for their members, making it easy to deter voters from casting ballots at multiple stations and opening the door for massive rigging and disputes during the nomination exercise/CFM NEWS

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 26 – Jubilee Party Nairobi Senate race front-runner Johnson Sakaja says failure by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to provide an interim voter register is to blame for the confusion in identifying people in polling stations.

Speaking before casting his vote at the St Georges High School, Sakaja said the interim register would have assisted political parties with polling station data for their members, making it easy to deter voters from casting ballots at multiple stations and opening the door for massive rigging and disputes during the nomination exercise.

“For me, I would put the entire blame on IEBC, because the IEBC is by law supposed to provide an up to date register for parties because you have to verify that your members are registered voters and it has to be segregated into polling stations. If you don’t get that from the IEBC then you are at a loss over what to use.”

He noted that a credible election begins at the nominations stage.

“They did this to us in 2013 – I was running a party then – we thought that it was the last time but they have done it again. If you look at it strictly maybe parties have conducted an illegal process because the elections laws say the party primaries should be conducted strictly by party members. I think IEBC needs to pull up their socks,” he added.

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati had last month bowed to pressure from the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee and committed to provide political parties with an interim voter register to eliminate cases of election fraud during the on-going party nominations.

Chebukati told the committee that the first draft of the register would be made available to political parties from March 31 in readiness for party primaries between April 13 and April 26.

His view was shared by party agents at the Highway Secondary School and Plainsview Primary School polling centres in Starehe Constituency.

Their complaints came about as Jubilee Party’s National Elections Board Chairman Andrew Musangi made clear that in Nairobi, only those on the party register would get to vote in the nominations.

Despite the exercise going on smoothly, key competitors have raised concerns over some of their supporters missing in the register while others claim that some people are being allowed to vote twice.

In other counties, any ID card holder was allowed to participate in the Jubilee primaries.

They argued that lack of a standard formula has disenfranchised some voters who were barred from participating in the exercise.

“Our biggest challenge is that since morning we were using the party register but it reached a point where people were being turned away and then we were given instructions that if somebody has a voter’s card from that polling station and you have an Identification Card, you are allowed to vote. To us that is a big anomaly, so you find that people who are not party members will walk in and vote and I will be sure they are not voting for the strongest candidate,” a party agent in Starehe said.

Although the law states that IEBC is under obligation to conduct party primaries upon request, the Commission, in its regulations, has indicated it would only provide technical support for the exercise.

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