, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 8 – British High Commissioner Nic Hailey says the Independent Electoral and Boundaries (IEBC) needs to be given space to do its own housekeeping as it prepares to conduct the repeat presidential election.
The envoy told Capital FM News that leaders both from Jubilee and NASA should stop trying to dictate to the electoral body how it should run its affairs, in the wake of an explosive memo by the Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ezra Chiloba.
“I don’t know if this memo is real or not, I have seen stories both ways. But what I do know and I have talked to many in the Commission about this is that they are very clear that things need to change. The Supreme Court said the previous election was not good enough so they need to make the next one better,” he said.
“So what everyone needs to do now is to just give them a bit of space, let them work that through, let them work through the issues and then work out how to make the next one better than the last one,” he stated.
The electoral commission appears divided on who to blame for last month’s presidential election that was cancelled, but Hailey emphasized that he is optimistic it will be able to hold the fresh poll ordered by the Supreme Court.
“They made it pretty clear that there will be an election in 39 days and one of the things that struck me about this country is that Kenyans have an amazing ability to do things at short notice so I have got a lot of confidence in the IEBC,” he said.
He also stressed the need for the Commission to make the needed changes so as to hold subsequent election transparently.
“Leaders on both sides have tried to remake the IEBC. They said the Commission needs to change, these people need to change. I think actually everyone needs to give the IEBC space and just let it get on and work out how to make the next election better than the last one,” he stated.
He further lauded the Supreme Court ruling that nullified the August 8 Presidential election.
“The Supreme Court ruling was a huge statement about the strength of Kenya’s institutions. Clearly what needs to happen now is people need to work out what the ruling says that they need to do better next time and then of course the IEBC needs to work that through and also must have the space to organize a fresh election,” he stated.
NASA leader Odinga ruled out any possibility of participating in the fresh presidential election slated for October 17 before all the concerns are addressed.
Odinga was reacting to a leaked internal memo in which Chebukati tasks Chiloba with providing an explanation for the irregularities and illegalities that led to the nullification of the August 8 presidential poll.
He said the letter enumerated failures of the August 8 poll similar to the ones the opposition coalition presented in its presidential election petition which led to the nullification of the President Uhuru Kenyatta re-election.
The Jubilee Party rejected the team named by the Independent Commission to manage the fresh presidential election.
In a letter addressed to the Commission on Wednesday, the party’s Secretary General Raphael Tuju said some officials in the team appointed by IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati are known to be partisan.
Tuju singled out the head of the special team named to oversee the election – Deputy CEO in charge of Support Services, Marjan Hussein Marjan, who has been named Project Coordinator – as one such individual.
In his letter, Tuju argues that Marjan and his team cannot be trusted to deliver a credible election.