By Dr Noah Akala
A CITIZEN’S GUIDE TO THE STAND-OFF ON THE IEBC (Share-widely)
1. WHAT’S THE BACKGROUND?
CORD and Jubilee agreed that IEBC under Isaak Hassan could not be relied upon to conduct free and fair elections in 2017. They also agreed that the system as it existed, needed improvement. This was during the negotiations at Windsor.
2. SO WHAT WAS AGREED AS THE WAY FORWARD?
They agreed to send Isaak and Co home and come up with a set of new laws to address the shortcomings in the electoral system.
This law (Elections Amendment Law 2016) was revolutionary! It would stamp out cheating by ensuring only voters whose biometric details appear in the register are allowed to vote – in the past, cheeky people would wait until polling stations are closed, lock themselves in a room somewhere and “vote” on behalf of those who didn’t turn up because maybe they are dead or moved or whatever. This is popularly known as “topping up.” Also, it allowed unscrupulous individuals to vote twice using somebody else’s identity card.
3. I KNOW WHAT WAS AGREED, BUT WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED?
After the Bill was passed by Bunge, the Speaker, Justin Muturi sat on it for a fortnight for no reason before forwarding it to the President who sat on it for another fortnight for no clear reason.
This is while there were important timelines therein that needed to be met to ensure new Commissioners would have been in place at least a month ago to make sure preparations to implement the law are up to speed.
But now, we are still caught up in interviews and Commissioners who have resigned and have been paid their terminal benefits are still in office overseeing tender after tender!!!
4. WHAT’S THE LATEST?
Jubilee through the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee is proposing to amend the Laws already agreed upon after realizing that it seals all loopholes for vote rigging.
Now, they are saying that the IEBC should be allowed to revert to manual voting “if the system breaks down.” That would mean the requirement to double-check that a voter is genuine by verifying their biometrics would be removed taking us back to the old era of “topping up” and double voting.
5. WHY ARE THEY DOING THIS?
Jubilee is doing this because they know that in a free and fair election, with the political formation behind CORD, they stand no chance at the ballot in 2017 and are looking for Blackfoot routes to manipulate the numbers in their favor.
This is why they are also attempting to scuttle the Mass Voter Registration Phase II planned for January 16 to February 17 by claiming they only have 8,000 BVR kits to cover more than 44,000 polling stations and that the time is too short to procure additional kits.
In Phase I, they targeted to register 8 million but barely managed over 1 million for the same reason – too few BVR kits. They are trying to avoid leasing enough kits so that CORD does not register the 6 million people in its strongholds who have IDs and are just waiting for their chance to send Jubilee packing.