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Showdown looms as IEBC declines Raila Odinga’s demands

NAIROBI – Showdown looms between the National Super Alliance (NASA) and the electoral commission after it became apparent that some of the demands the Opposition had placed before participating in the October 26 elections had been rejected.

At least six conditions NASA insisted they would not backtrack on have since been overtaken by events and can no longer be on the table for negotiation.

ndependent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has already placed an order with Al Ghurair for printing presidential ballot papers. Similarly, the commission has also inked an agreement with OT-Morpho that will provide technology for purposes of the presidential elections.

Conditions that NASA has insisted on but have since suffered the same fate include removal of some IEBC secretariat members such as Chief Executive Ezra Chiloba and the exclusion of Safaricom from the fresh presidential elections.

Others demands are that Jubilee drops the Election Laws Amendment Bill currently before Parliament and appointment of new returning officers in the 291 constituencies while the current ones to serve as election managers.

But in a letter to NASA wired on September 22 by the commission, Mr Chiloba said that they would reshuffle, not dismiss some of the officers and disciplinary action will be taken on others according to the IEBC human resources guidelines.

President Kenyatta has been emphatic that the proposed amendments to the election laws will not be dropped and procedures for adoption of the same is ongoing in Parliament.

NASA has however, vowed to hold demonstrations on Monday and Friday until their demands are met.  While addressing a rally in Vihiga yesterday, Raila insisted that NASA would not participate in the polls until all the demands were met.

IEBC said significant considerations had been made to the emerging issues and that some crucial decisions had to be taken in view of the fact that the commission does not have the luxury of time to put in place a proper electoral infrastructure.

Decision to proceed Yesterday, IEBC vice chairperson Connie Maina confirmed that Al Ghuarair had received the order for printing the papers saying the UN option did not work partly because it required consensus of the two main political parties.

“Both (NASA/Jubilee) have rejected for their own reasons. The commission being independent must therefore make a decision to proceed to get the country ready for the October elections.

The commission’s options are limited. We are running out of time and for that reason we are already in discussion with Al Ghurair to supply the ballot papers within the framework of existing two year contract,” Ms Maina said.

The commission has however, granted some concessions which include beefing up of the ICT framework with close supervision of the agents and the IEBC to prevent anomalies experienced previously.

The commission also agreed to provide a list of all polling stations together with their GPRS coordinates. This development means that NASA will have to cede some ground over its demands. But Raila insists that the demonstrations across the country that are meant to put more pressure on IEBC to agree to their demands will continue.

“We do not fear going to the polls, so long as there is a level playing field for all of us,” he said. In a statement to the newsrooms, NASA campaign Chairman Musalia Mudavadi noted that until the French absolve themselves, the award to OT-Morpho confirms that OT-Morpho is firmly part and parcel of a criminal enterprise that has hijacked the electoral system with the sole aim of profiteering and frustrating the democratic ambitions of Kenyans.

“We wish to reiterate that IEBC lacks good faith and is still hell bent on committing crimes against Kenyans in collusion with OT-Morpho. As this contract demonstrates, we cannot expect free, fair, credible and verifiable elections conducted in conformity with the Constitution and the Laws of Kenya,” Mudavadi said.

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