NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 14- A land surveyor Julius Kiplagat who is seeking to become an Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commissioner, on Wednesday shocked the interviewing panel when he admitted to have included two dogs as registered voters in 1987 when he worked as a clerk.
While appearing before the Selection Panel for the recruitment of four IEBC’s Commissioners, Kiplagat said although he knew it was wrong; a District Commissioner (DC) who was his boss at the time, made sure the dogs were included as voters.
“It was morally wrong and I was also shocked because there were around 10 people plus two dogs and I asked the DC why he wrote 12 and he insisted that he knew his work. DC was a respectable person and he was my employer, I had no choice,” Kiplagat said.
After his confession, Kiplagat, 54, was hard-pressed to explain whether his action counted as an electoral fraud and what he would opt to do if such a situation repeated itself.
“Counting dogs is an electoral fraud because you are rigging. It is like hacking the system and it means you are trying to manipulate the system and it is a criminal offense. I learned my lesson and I would not repeat that,” he said.
Kiplagat is among 36 candidates who were shortlisted to fill up four positions at the poll body which fell vacant following the resignation of Commissioners Roselyn Akombe, Paul Kurgat,
Earlier, Juliana Cherera an accountant at the Mombasa County Government said her experience during the 2007-2008 post-election violence is what motivated her to apply for the position.
Cherera, a young mother then, narrated how she went for days without food supply due to chaos.
“We stayed indoors because outside it was chaotic. There was a lot of vandalism. Things were being destroyed and at some point we did not have food supply, we just took black tea. We had money but we couldn’t do anything,” she said.
She further stated that her experience pushed her to not only be a Kenyan voter but also be at the management of the elections and ensure she works together with her colleagues to give free, fair, credible, and violence-free election.
The first candidate to have been interviewed on Wednesday was a former Senior Lecturer at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) Joseph Kang’ethe who was tasked to explain what guides the naming of a political party to ensure it abides with the constitutional requirements.
Kangeth’e said any political name should not use words or logos that seem to divide the country along ethnic borders among others.
“I would not register a political party with a name that affiliates to a given faith, culture or ethnicity but I would give it a name that indicates my political philosophy than other elements that may bring divisive politics,” he said.
Kange’the who is also a former Kiambu County Government Finance Chief Officer pointed out that he was motivated to become a commissioner at the electoral body to ensure a peaceful, free and fair election and use his experience to give back to the community
So far, 17 candidates have been interviewed.