The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has termed a story appearing on yesterday Sunday Nation as ‘misleading, inflammatory, lacking in facts and only serves the purpose of sensational reading’.
PRESS STATEMENT BY THE IEBC
The story on â€˜Shocking new revelations of 2013 election intriguesâ€™ that made the front page headline in todayâ€™s edition of the Sunday Nation is grossly misleading, inflammatory, lacking in facts and only serves the purpose of sensational reading. The story is at its best mundane bar talk.
The allegations in the purported secret recording of an anonymous â€˜senior election officialâ€™ that the last General Elections had serious flaws is in itself too mysterious that any serious publication would make an attempt to unravel it or at best rubbish it.
This is not the first wild allegation about elections. Even on the very election date, rumors were doing the rounds that the IEBC CEO James Oswago had been kidnapped. It did not deter malicious elements that Mr. Oswago could be seen on TV at the Bomas of Kenya media briefings.
But the difference with this new allegation is that it has been carried by a newspaper that is considered mainstream and credible. They did not bother to ascertain the credibility of the information. Why wouldnâ€™t the paper give the Commission a chance to give its side of the story? It would have been prudent and professional to disclose the allegations and seek our response before publication to allow us ascertain or at least give our view about it. They were going to publish the story anyway and so it was going to be public. Giving IEBC a right of reply would at least have given it some professionalism.
The motive behind the urgency of making a front-page headline from such an incomplete and unbalanced story largely premised on hearsay leaves a lot to be desired. There was nothing shocking about it and neither was it a revelation. In fact, one of the dailies had pursued it and dropped it for lack of substance.
IEBC conducted free and fair elections and therefore takes great exception to the allegations raised in the story. Anyone who has critical information to the contrary or knows of any malpractice by an election official should, according the law, feel to take it through the legal avenues instead of making unsubstantiated claims through the media for purposes of gaining unnecessary publicity.
A media house has the responsibility of enabling a country run on a healthy environment dictated by accurate and balanced reporting where good governance should thrive.
Manager, Communication and Corporate Affairs