CORD PRESS STATEMENT ON ELECTORAL REFORMS
1. The Country is aware that IEBC is being reconstituted under the stewardship of the Selection Panel established in accordance with the Election Laws (Amendment) Act 2016. We note that while this process is on-going the retired Commissioners of the IEBC continue to conduct and direct the affairs of the IEBC against the law.
2. The Secretariat, which has not been vetted and scrutinised for good behaviour and conduct, is also engaging in activities including policy matters, well beyond its mandate. We are aware that the Secretariat and some of the retired Commissioners have been holding informal meetings with the Deputy President and the Cabinet Secretary responsible for ICT to block the full and comprehensive implementation of the Election Laws (Amendment) Act 2016, including exerting inappropriate influence on the nomination of the new Commissioners.
3. The IEBC under an unconstitutional, illegal and a mysterious hand has done everything to replicate the flaws, malpractices and fraud committed in previous elections and to undermine the exercise of the people’s sovereign authority to establish government through democratic elections, and which are free and fair.
4. The people and the outfit that remains in IEBC is engaged in the following actions of misconduct and disruption of the next general elections.
a) Even before the ink is dry on the Elections Laws (Amendment) Act there is an attempt to amend the statute and draft proposals have already been sent to the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee of the National Assembly.
b) The new legal regime demands that an exhaustive audit of the register be carried out based on the mandatory requirement that each voters biometrics must be captured in the register for purposes of verification and ultimately to secure the accuracy of the register. The IEBC intends to engage a disreputed firm to carry out a random inspection of the register for purposes of a misplaced exercise in public relations.
c) IEBC has put in place a technical committee of its own liking with the purpose of destroying the entire foundation and architecture of the Election Laws (Amendment) Act 2016 and in particular to ensure that the provisions of section 17 of the Act that provides for the establishment of an integrated electoral system is upset if not violated.
d) The Secretariat has drafted regulations purportedly in an effort to implement the integrated use of technology which in effect downplay, water down and emasculate the stringent conditions set out in the Act, in order to avoid oversight by relevant agencies, institutions, stakeholders and political parties, including oversight over the transparent acquisition and disposal of assets and systems for the elections.
e) The Secretariat, in cahoots with the Jubilee administration, is opposed to the reduction of the number of voters registered in every polling station. This is being done with a view of frustrating the direct transmission and declaration of results and the finality of the results as announced at every polling station. No doubt this will fulfil the purpose of interfering with the results and rigging the final outcome of the elections.
f) IEBC is avoiding to engage the major Coalitions and political parties, and particularly CORD, so that it can have a free hand in messing up with the preparation and conduct of the next general elections.
g) The IEBC is constantly and persistently, but with a degree of subtlety, making a case for the postponement of the next general elections and for the extension of the life of parliament and the tenure of the President.
5. The Secretariat has now deviously developed opportunities for a second “chickengate” harvest of colossal sums of tax money through questionable procurement of assets and equipment for next year’s general elections. It should be remembered that it is the Secretariat that executed the chickengate scandals whose forbidden fruits were shared between elements in the staff and some of the retired Commissioners. IEBC is demanding billions of shillings for the conduct of the elections but are vehemently opposed to necessary oversight in accordance with the constitutional principles for the electoral system that include, transparency, impartiality, efficiency, accuracy and accountability.
6. Elections are based on a voters roll. Our law now provides for only one register that contains the biometric data of every voter. Without a clean and accurate register that is put in place after a fair, popular and inclusive registration of voters that must guarantee the enjoyment of all political rights enumerated in the Constitution by every Kenyan, an election may only be an abstract, and routine exercise. We are therefore making the following demands,
i. The IEBC should stall every exercise that are currently being undertaken in regard to the Election Laws (Amendment) Act 2016 until the new Commissioners have been duly appointed. This includes the advertisement and award of tenders for election materials.
ii. We will not allow the tyranny of numbers in parliament to be used to change a word or a comma in the Elections Laws (Amendment) Act and if the same is done without CORD’s concurrence and approval we shall declare that it is impossible to create an enabling environment for the conduct of the free and fair elections. The country will then be called to action.
iii. The two major coalitions including CORD must have representatives in the technical committee established under section 17(8) of the Election Laws (Amendment) Act. We do not recognise the participation of the Political Parties Liaison Committee as such representation. Elections are serious business and IEBC better be aware.
iv. The two major Coalitions including CORD must be involved in drafting all regulations envisaged under the law and the draft regulations that are being proposed by IEBC must be withdrawn.
v. Nobody should dream of postponing the next general elections to be held on 8th August 2017. The election timetable must be kept and obeyed to the letter.
vi. The current staff of the IEBC including the Chief Executive Officer and all directors and heads of department must be vetted and their suitability or otherwise established by the new Commission. Those that were involved in chicken-gate or subsequent misconduct or misbehaviour must be shown the door.
vii. There will be no election unless the entire legal regime, including the use of technology in an integrated electronic electoral system, is fully implemented and the conduct of free and fair elections is guaranteed.
viii. Nobody should interfere with the process of nomination of the members and the Chairman of the Commission and the exercise should be completed expeditiously but with utmost respect to the qualifications and integrity required of the nominees. We are informed that Jubilee is opposed to the appointment to the Commission of Kenyans who are patriotic and progressive and have a background and history of fighting for reform and change in Kenya. That is simply backward, reactionary and plainly wrong and repugnant in an open democratic society based on human dignity and equality and freedom.
7. The Election Laws (Amendment) Act was negotiated between CORD and Jubilee with the participation of stakeholders, including faith based organisations and non-state actors. There was extensive public participation. The lameduck and retired Commissioners should let go and desist from transacting business. Jubilee should not allow a repeat of strife, acrimony and return of positive political action on the streets. On our part we will continue to undertake our patriotic duty to protect and safeguard the Constitution and the law of the land.
Thank you all and God bless Kenya
SENATOR JAMES ORENGO
SENATOR JOHNSON MUTHAMA
HON. DR. ESELI SIMIYU