NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 29 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is expected to share names of election officials – who will undertake the fresh presidential election slated for October 26 – with the Jubilee Party and National Super Alliance by the end of the day Saturday.
According to the timelines published by the electoral commission, the two political parties will be given until Friday next week to make their comments or reservations before publication of the final list of officials on October 12.
Training of the election officials is set to kickoff thereafter with their deployment and that of polling materials to all the 40,883 polling stations countrywide set for October 16, while Diaspora personnel will be deployed between October 10 and 18.
The timelines published on September 8 following the gazettement on September 5 of President Uhuru Kenyatta (Jubilee) and NASA’s Raila Odinga as the only candidates for the repeat presidential election, indicate that the procurement and distribution of election materials will have been concluded by Wednesday next week.
All strategic voting materials are expected to be in place by the second week of next month – October 14.
Transport services and arrangements are to be concluded by October 20.
The critical timelines are falling in place amid the collapse of talks between the commission, Jubilee and NASA over controversial amendments to election laws.
The differences between the two parties were at their peak on Thursday when NASA walked out of a consultative meeting convened by the IEBC at Bomas of Kenya demanding that Jubilee drops two amendment Bills seized of both Houses of Parliament before talks could proceed.
“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),” Senator James Orengo who led NASA representatives at the forum protested in a media briefing that lasted half an hour.
The Siaya Senator who was in the company of NASA Executive Director Norman Magaya and lawyer Paul Mwangi faulted the ruling party for what he 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 Kenyatta in the August 8 presidential election.
They further argued that the rules of engagement could not be changed midstream.
“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,” Magaya proclaimed.
The Jubilee side led by Senate Deputy Speaker Kithure Kindiki, however, dismissed demands by NASA saying the majority side could not be intimidated.
Kindiki challenged the Minority in the Senate and National Assembly to propose counter amendments instead so that a deal is reached.
“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 reporters.
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.
Speaking after the aborted meeting, IEBC’s Chebukati, however, assured the nation that the commission’s ability to prepare for the fresh polls will not be impeded.
He said the Commission will be good to go adding that he hoped the proposed amendments will not affect plans and processes the IEBC has already undertaken in readiness for the poll.
“We shall have a fresh election as ordered by the Supreme Court. IEBC will go on with preparations for elections and we welcome the candidates to come to us hopefully in a joint forum should there be any issues,” he said.
The Commission will not get tired of engaging candidates in the process of preparing for the fresh presidential election, Chebukati added.