Seize State vehicles used for campaigns, orders IEBC

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

The electoral agency has directed that government vehicles and other state resources illegally deployed by politicians in campaigns be impounded. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has also ordered governors, deputy governors, Members of Parliament and Members of County Assembly (MCAs) to provide an inventory of resources at their disposal by virtue of their positions. 

The directive, issued on Friday, comes just days after Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa branded a Constituency Development Fund (CDF) vehicle in United Democratic Alliance (UDA) colours, his photos and those of Deputy President William Ruto. He had also removed the GK registration plates and affixed the registration number KBS 709D.

Didmus Barasa in trouble after wrapping CDF car in UDA campaign branding

Now, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati has given State officials including employees of statutory corporations a 14-day window to furnish the electoral agency with their respective inventories. He said any state vehicles and other resources not in the lists will be impounded by authorities if found on politicians' campaign trails.  

“A member of the commission, any person designated by the Commission or any authorised agency shall have the power to impound or to order the impounding of any state resources that are unlawfully used in an election campaign,” said Mr Chebukati in a public notice published in local dailies.

Section 14(3) of the Election Offences Act, 2016 empowers IEBC to write to any aspirant who is a sitting MP, governor, deputy governor or MCA to state the facilities attached to them or any equipment normally in the custody of the candidates by virtue of their office. The provision also applies to an employee of a statutory corporation or of a company in which the government owns a controlling interest.

“The said information shall be submitted to the chairman of the commission within a period of fourteen days from the date of this notice. A person who fails to comply with the directive commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding Sh2 million or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six years or both," the statement added. 

The police have since impounded the CDF vehicle that was branded with Barasa's campaign posters. Kimilili sub-county police boss, Mr Mwita Maroa, said that the government vehicle was seized from the MP’s homestead in Nasianda village on Tuesday morning. Officers stormed his compound following a tip-off from members of the public, towed the vehicle to Kimilili police station and later to Bungoma before taking it to Nairobi.

Police said the first-time MP is in hiding as he is being sought to face charges of forgery and theft of a government vehicle, among other offences.

Additional report by Brian Ojamaa

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