Raila claims gov’t twisting IEBC to extend president Uhuru’s term

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NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga shakes hand with Supreme Court President and Chief Justice David Maraga, as IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati watches, at the KICC, June 13, 2017. [Photo: Philip Etale]

Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga has questioned the preparedness of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, to handle the August 8, polls.

The Opposition chief said IEBC is yet to be ready for the elections, and has been leaving the Ministry of Interior and Coordination, to run its operations.

According to Raila, the Wafula Chebukati-led agency receives orders from the Joseph Nkaissery-led Ministry, with the government using state resources as a campaign tool for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party.

“As we hope, pray and cross our fingers for free, fair and credible elections, we have seen a worrying inability by the IEBC enforce the Electoral Code of Conduct.”

“We have seen the government using its record in office and public funded projects as campaign tools for Jubilee.  We have seen Cabinet Secretaries and Principal Secretaries, who are paid by tax-payers, deployed to campaign for the Jubilee Party. We have seen reports of public institutions being asked to channel public funds into Jubilee campaigns. We have seen the Interior Ministry usurp the roles of IEBC and turn itself into a referee in the upcoming elections,” Raila said.

“The IEBC has remained silent in the middle of all these. That is worrying indeed,” he added.

Speaking during IEBC National Elections Conference at the KICC, Raila noted such trend was not a way to build faith that the elections will be free, fair and credible and that all players would be subjected to similar treatment under the law.

“Our elections are in peril when incumbents arrogate to themselves the role of referees in a match in which they are also players. As we have observed before, all our multiparty elections with an incumbent president defending his seat have been marked by violence. We saw it in our first multiparty elections when violence erupted in parts of the Rift Valley killing hundreds and displacing thousands.”

Raila who wants to be Kenya’s fifth president, said the pattern begins with the electoral body allowing incumbents to usurp its role and turn themselves into referees in matches they are playing in.

“This pattern has begun again. The IEBC must nip it in the bud now before it leads us to the abyss in August. Credible elections are about processes. They are about registration of voters, access to polling stations, casting and counting of ballot and declaration of results. All these processes need to be credible, trustworthy, consultative and inclusive,” he said, Tuesday, in Nairobi.

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