President Uhuru Kenyatta has opposed all reforms on IEBC. This is strange. For a fellow who believes he won the last election on a clear majority, and who claims he has performed beyond measure in the last five years he has been president, reforms that ensure free, fair, credible and verifiable elections should not worry him.
Yet, the angry outbursts and bitter rhetoric coming from the President is testament to the desperation currently engulfing Jubilee.
This week, he doubled down on his defense of IEBC even as serious integrity questions emerged following revelations that the most critical component of conducting credible elections may have been interfered with.
Ballot printing tender awarded to the discredited Dubai based Al Ghuriar Printing, a company with a legacy of printing excess ballot papers to African dictators clinging to power through sham elections, is the end of the road for all IEBC reforms.
An election is as credible as the sanctity of the key electoral materials and processes to be used during the exercise. What Uhuru regime has done, for three years now, is to sabotage implementation of a minimum reforms package meant to rid the polls body of doubts that it can conduct credible elections.
Since 2013, President Uhuru and the Jubilee regime have placed hurdles in reforming IEBC. Initially, a process to reform the body through a series of changes to the electoral law embedded in the Okoa Kenya referendum push was frustrated through collusion of IEBC and the National Intelligence Service (NIS) with egging from Uhuru’s regime overlords.
Then the push to remove Isaack Hassan and his commission that had been fingered by investigations by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office and found to have been bribed by Smith & Ouzman Printing company for ballot printing tender turned deadly, with Uhuru regime using police to beat up, teargas and kill protesters.
A young boy, barely in class three, was shot and wounded in Kisumu. Two women were shot in Homa Bay, they survived the gun wounds, albeit now, they’re physically paralyzed. Five youths were shot dead. There is an amputee. All testament to Uhuru’s violent answer to legitimate democratic questions.
But it is the revelations that the President himself lobbied for Al Ghuriar to get the ballot printing tender, and the unassailable evidence that the opposition and the media have provided, that has jolted IEBC and awoken the demons of Uhuru, who has been ranting now for five straight days against those calling on IEBC to come clean on the commission’s dealings with Al Ghuriar.
As Uhuru runs out of alternatives, rigging the August election is his final jockey card.
There are consequences to that.