, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 25 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairperson Wafula Chebukati has assured that the fresh presidential election set for Thursday will proceed as planned.
Chebukati, who spoke at the IEBC National Tallying Centre at the Bomas of Kenya Wednesday afternoon, said enough progress had been made by the Commission to ensure the successful conduct of the October 26 presidential election.
“Based on the assurances given to this Commission by the relevant authorities and the security agencies, and based on the progress that has been made by the Commission, the election as scheduled will go on tomorrow (October 26),” he stated at a news conference in company of Vice-Chairperson Consolata Nkatha, Commissioners Abdi Guliye, Boya Molu, Paul Kurgat and Margret Mwachanya.
Chebukati said all ballot papers for the presidential election had been received in the country and distribution was almost complete.
According to Chebukati, all 40,883 Presiding Officers as well as 290 Constituency Returning Officers and their deputies will be at their respective jurisdictions ahead of the commencement of polling at 6am.
The Commission assured that procedures had been put in place to ensure voting, counting, tallying and tabulation of votes is done in a transparent manner.
“The Kenya Integrated Electoral Management System (KIEMS) has been reconfigured to transmit both text and images in the results management process,” Chebukati assured.
“Only the scanned images of all the relevant results forms, without accompanying the text, will be projected to the public through a dedicated portal,” he explained.
He also said that he had been assured by security agencies that law and order will be maintained during the poll and that security officers will operate with restraint to quell any occurrence of chaos.
Chebukati discouraged acts of intimidation against those who turn out to vote but insisted that the police must apply reasonable force in ensuring that the election is not disrupted.
“The Commission has received a guarantee from the Inspector General of National Police Service in writing that certain strategic and operational changes have been effected to ensure that peaceful and lawful expression of human rights will never be treated as a crime,” he told journalists.
IEBC also assured that all its Returning Officers will remain and clarified that a ruling delivered by Justice George Odunga Wednesday does not negatively impact on their mandate.
“These officials are permanent staff of the Commission and vetting them as Returning Officers is a continues process, save for amendments where changes had been effected,” he said alluding to over 200 election officials who oversaw the August 8 presidential election annulled by the Supreme Court the Commission decided to omit for the fresh election.
Four dedicated hotlines for the use by voters were also unveiled during the press conference.
Voters can dial 1527, 1537, 1538 or 1539 in order to contact IEBC directly.
Chebukati’s statement came even as a number of cases seen as a threat to Thursday’s election flopped in quick succession among them an application by former Kilome MP Harun Mwau who sought the cancellation of the election citing IEBC’s failure to conduct fresh nominations.
The Supreme Court also adjourned a scheduled sitting Wednesday morning after it fell short of a quorum to consider a case by three voters seeking postponement of Thursday’s poll.
Chief Justice David Maraga said the case could not proceed since only he and Justice Isaac Lenaola were available to hear the matter filed by Samuel Mohochi, Gacheke Gachohi and Khelef Khalifa through lawyer Harun Ndubi.
“The absence of the other six judges makes it impossible for us to proceed for lack of quorum as set in Article 163 (2) of the Constitution,” Maraga announced saying a new date would be taken in the Court Registry.
CJ Maraga explained to parties appearing before the apex court that Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu was unable to attend the proceedings due to the shooting of her bodyguard on Tuesday.
“Justice Mohammed Ibrahim is unwell and out of the country for treatment, Justices Jackton Ojwang’ and Smokin Wanjala are unable to come to court whereas Lady Justice Njoki Ndung’u is out of Nairobi and has been unable to get a flight back in time for this hearing,” Maraga explained.