DECEMBER 8, 2016.
RETIRED COMMISSIONERS MUST VACATE OFFICE AND STOP ANY ACTIVITY IN THE NAME OF IEBC:
The general elections will be held on Tuesday 8th August 2017. Those elections must be free, fair and transparent and administered in an impartial, neutral, efficient and accurate and accountable manner as required under the Constitution. The principles for our electoral system and process must be jealously kept.
Democratic elections are an essential pillar of a nation that believes in justice and peace. You cannot have peace without justice. That is why democracy and justice are foundational values and principles in our Constitution. With these and other underlying prescriptions, like the rule of law, human rights and good governance, peace is an inevitable and natural consequence. But the imperative of justice is paramount and overriding.
Because of the irregularities and flaws of previous elections including the general elections of 2013, which was the first election under the Constitution of Kenya, 2010, Kenyans engaged in intensive campaigns to ensure that the next general elections are not rigged. Many people lost their lives and others were injured during the massive countrywide demonstrations against the IEBC and the Commissioners.
Peace was restored when CORD and Jubilee undertook to enact legislation to establish a mechanism for the removal of the Commissioners of IEBC and to make institutional and legal reforms of the IEBC and the electoral process. Allegations against the Commissioners and the Secretariat included lack of credibility, impartiality, integrity and independence. They still stand accused in the “chickengate” scandal. The products of that engagement were the Election Offences Act, 2016 and the Elections Laws (Amendment) Act, 2016.
The focus of the legislation in respect of the Election Laws (Amendment) Act was the removal of the Commissioners and the appointment of new Commissioners; the provision of one single biometric register of voters; electronic voter identification; and the electronic transmission of results based on a framework that is now established in law, i.e. an integrated electronic electoral system.
Extremely important enactments were statutory timelines for the conduct of an audit of the Register of Voters and its verification for accuracy; the appointment of Commissioners and the technical committee to oversee the acquisition of technology and the testing and deployment thereof; and the preparations and conduct of elections.
There is no audit which has taken place in accordance with the law resulting in a single register of voters which has captured the biometric data of voters. The IEBC has carried out a random inspection of the register in an opaque manner which has not dealt with the problem of purging the register and expunging the names of dead voters; multiple registrations, underage voters; and verification, accuracy and integrity of the register. The problem Justice Kriegler identified in his report about a fraudulent and contaminated register still persists. A register of voters is the foundation of an election and if it is bogus, false or inaccurate the election cannot be lawful and legitimate. The IEBC is continuing with its old games of tampering with and falsifying the register and has proceeded with an unfair and unequal registration of voters.
The Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2016 only provides for a Commission consisting of seven members and there are no transitional provisions enabling the Commissioners to remain in office as constituted prior to the enactment of the statute. The removal of the Commissioners was founded on their lack of integrity and credibility and their characters have been impugned in relation to several scandals including “chickengate”. They cannot continue to be in office and transact the business of the Commission.
The IEBC is awarding tenders in respect of next year’s general elections, and in many instances, in a questionable manner and without following the law of the elections as presently established. There is a mad rush to deal with all the contracts and the award of tenders almost as an exercise of looting after a combat and an array of hostilities. But the fact of the matter is that the stage is being set for election rigging before new Commissioners are appointed.
We are aware of attempts and conspiracies being made to challenge the constitutionality of the Election Laws (Amendment) Act, the reactionary changes to the law being proposed to parliament and the statements by IEBC that certain provisions of the law are not achievable. The law was enacted unanimously without a single change, alteration or amendment and these attempts and conspiracies can only be geared towards frustrating the reforms. We shall accept no change, alteration or amendment. The law must be implemented as is.
We now wish to declare as follows:-
(a) The retired Commissioners must stop any activity or engagement in the name of IEBC forthwith and new Commissioners must assume office on or before 23rd December 2016.
(b) Any award of tenders in respect of the general elections to be held in 2017 must be cancelled or frozen until the new Commissioners take office and all systems in regard thereto are in place.
(c) We will not accept anything short of a comprehensive audit of the register by a reputable firm procured competitively, and through a transparent process for verifying the accuracy of the register and to achieve a biometric voter registration. There must be only one single Register of Voters to be maintained in a public web portal for inspection by members of the public.
(d) The IEBC must maintain transparency, impartiality, neutrality and accountability in its duties and operations and work closely with all stakeholders including political parties in the spirit and the law regarding public participation.
(e) No general elections will be held outside the Constitution and the law including Election Laws (Amendment) Act 2016.
(f) The Government must bear responsibility and burden of any danger to peace, law and order as choices have consequences.
(g) We remain determined to protect, safeguard and uphold the Constitution and the Rule of Law and to strive for justice and peace within our borders.
RT. HON RAILA ODINGA
HON KALONZO MUSYOKA