, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 28 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Thursday assured that the fresh presidential election scheduled for October 26 will proceed as planned despite the collapse of talks between IEBC and representatives of the National Super Alliance (NASA) and Jubilee Party.
IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati gave the assurance after NASA stormed out of a consultative meeting convened at the Bomas of Kenya, forcing an adjournment as the Commission could not engage Jubilee alone.
NASA accused Jubilee of forcing amendments to electoral laws down their throats.
In his statement after the adjournment of talks, Chebukati regretted hard-line positions adopted by representatives of the two parties while calling upon its principals to consider showing up in person for future meetings to tone down the chest thumping exhibited by their proxies.
“This meeting was scuttled by parties for the reason that there’s a Bill in Parliament which is likely to affect preparations for the elections,” Chebukati explained.
According to Chebukati, the Commission is not particularly concerned with the state of election statutes as they stand but said that IEBC remained open to changes so long as they do not negatively impact preparations for the fresh presidential election.
Senator James Orengo who led the NASA team to the forum meant to discuss election preparedness blamed Jubilee for the botched meeting saying they were not willing to engage in talks if the said amendments proceeded as planned.
“The fact that this legislation is being driven through Parliament at a supersonic speed means that all the stages of the Bill may be hurriedly completed by the end of the day (sic),” Orengo protested in a media briefing that lasted half an hour.
The Siaya Senator together with NASA Executive Director Norman Magaya and lawyer Paul Mwangi faulted the ruling party for what they termed as an attempt to dilute the majority Supreme Court ruling rendered on September 1 in which Chief Justice David Maraga and three other justices of the apex court nullified the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta in the August 8 presidential election.
Magaya argued for instance that the Jubilee parliamentary majority was relying heavily on dissenting opinions rendered by Justices Prof Jackton Ojwang’ and Njoki Ndung’u in its efforts to introduce amendments to the Elections Act.
“We cannot change the rules of the game midstream. In fact, we (NASA) can declare today that there will be nothing like an election of October 26,” he proclaimed.
Led by Senate Deputy Speaker Kindiki Kithure, Jubilee however denied the claims by NASA saying that the minority in Parliament was at liberty to come up with counter amendments for debate in both Houses of the legislative assembly.
Kindiki said the party will not be coerced by NASA through threats adding that JP was acting within the law in introducing amendments to the election statutes.
“We want to reiterate to our supporters that we remained seized of this matter with the seriousness it deserves because this is a matter that means a lot to the future of our nation and we cannot accept a few individuals to intimidate the nation to achieve sectional interests,” the Tharaka Nithi Senator told a battery of journalists following the collapse of the forum.
His position was echoed by Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju, Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen as well the Jubilee’s chief presidential agent Davis Chirchir, who affirmed that the proposed amendments were only intended to provide clarity on the complementary system of identification of voters and results transmission as well as introduce punitive measures on IEBC officials found liable of election malpractices.
“They are accusing us of establishing a parallel process in Parliament; they have a parallel process of mass action and economic sabotage. What is wrong with our majority? We’re where we’re because of a majority ruling,” Tuju explained.
“It is perfectly in order to make it punitive for any official who falsifies documents. We have a situation where a court nullified an election simply because falsified documents could have been placed before it,” Chirchir remarked.
IEBC has gazetted President Uhuru Kenyatta (Jubilee) and NASA’s Raila Odinga as the only candidates in next month’s State House contest.